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screeching

[skree-ching]
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adjective
  1. causing or uttering screeches: screeching bats.
  2. characteristic of screeches; harshly shrill: a screeching tone.
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noun
  1. the act or sound of a person or thing that screeches.
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Origin of screeching

First recorded in 1610–20; screech + -ing2, -ing1
Related formsscreech·ing·ly, adverb

screech

[skreech]
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter or make a harsh, shrill cry or sound: The child screeched hysterically. The brakes screeched.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter with a screech: She screeched her warning.
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noun
  1. a harsh, shrill cry or sound: an owl's screech; the screech of brakes.
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Origin of screech

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

Synonyms

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1. See scream.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for screeching

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was a tremendous snarling and spitting and screeching.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The one called Gramp was screeching invectives at the grinning bystanders.

  • "Bid them make an end of that screeching," she snapped to vent some of her fierce petulance.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • The retreat, I maintained—and I was right—was caused by the screeching of the steam whistle.

    Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad

  • They said he had caused the fire in some way; be that as it may, he was screeching most horribly.

    Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for screeching

screech1

noun
  1. a shrill, harsh, or high-pitched sound or cry
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verb
  1. to utter with or produce a screech
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Derived Formsscreecher, noun

Word Origin

C16: variant of earlier scritch, of imitative origin

screech2

noun Canadian
  1. (esp in Newfoundland) a dark rum
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Word Origin

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 screeching

screech

v.

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).

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screech

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper