verb (used without object)

to utter or make a harsh, shrill cry or sound: The child screeched hysterically. The brakes screeched.

verb (used with object)

to utter with a screech: She screeched her warning.


a harsh, shrill cry or sound: an owl's screech; the screech of brakes.

Nearby words

  1. screaming,
  2. screaming-meemies,
  3. screamingly,
  4. screamo,
  5. scree,
  6. screech owl,
  7. screeching,
  8. screechingly,
  9. screechy,
  10. screed

Origin of screech

1550–60; variant of obsolete scritch to scream; akin to screak

Related formsscreech·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for screech

British Dictionary definitions for screech




a shrill, harsh, or high-pitched sound or cry


to utter with or produce a screech
Derived Formsscreecher, noun

Word Origin for screech

C16: variant of earlier scritch, of imitative origin

noun Canadian

(esp in Newfoundland) a dark rum

Word Origin for screech

perhaps special use of screech 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for screech
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper