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.

Origin of screech

1550–60; variant of obsolete scritch to scream; akin to screak
Related formsscreech·er, noun

Synonyms for screech

1. See scream. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for screeched

shout, shriek, yell, howl, squeal, outcry, shrill

Examples from the Web for screeched

Contemporary Examples of screeched

Historical Examples of screeched

  • He evaded the friendly hand and screeched in a high-pitched voice.

    The Velvet Glove

    Harry Harrison

  • Mabel screeched through her teeth, "Baby's got it, the monster's got it, now baby's got it!"

  • She screeched a little and grabbed at the needle-prick with her fingernails.


    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • I could a screeched as loud as any of them if that would a done any good.

  • “Not haar me, by thunder,” screeched the other, raising his voice.

    The Island Treasure

    John Conroy Hutcheson

British Dictionary definitions for screeched




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 screeched



1570s, alteration of scritch (mid-13c., schrichen), possibly of imitative origin (cf. shriek). Related: Screeched; screeching. Screech-owl is attested from 1590s (scritch-owl is from 1520s).



1550s, from screech (v.). Earlier scritch (1510s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper