a long discourse or essay, especially a diatribe.
an informal letter, account, or other piece of writing.
Building Trades.
  1. a strip of plaster or wood applied to a surface to be plastered to serve as a guide for making a true surface.
  2. a wooden strip serving as a guide for making a true level surface on a concrete pavement or the like.
  3. a board or metal strip dragged across a freshly poured concrete slab to give it its proper level.
British Dialect. a fragment or shred, as of cloth.
  1. a tear or rip, especially in cloth.
  2. a drinking bout.

verb (used with or without object)

Scot. to tear, rip, or shred, as cloth.

Origin of screed

1275–1325; Middle English screde torn fragment, irregular (with sc- for sh-) representing Old English scrēade shred Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for screed

Contemporary Examples of screed

  • No word yet from Commentary (which has devoted a grand total of one screed to the hunger strikers thus far).

    The Daily Beast logo
    Striking a Deal

    Peter Beinart

    May 14, 2012

  • Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, author of the screed, The Israel Lobby, are right about that.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Arab Lobby Rules America

    Alan M. Dershowitz

    August 24, 2010

  • The media took notice: My screed appeared in New York magazine and on various gossip blogs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Mea Culpa, Kiddo

    Marty Beckerman

    August 14, 2009

Historical Examples of screed

  • This screed, remarkable as it was, had no mystery for Goodwin.

  • I am sending this as an antidote for my doleful Sunday screed.

    Mistress Anne

    Temple Bailey

  • I have no leisure now for this screed, mother; read it to me later, an you will.

    Robin Hood

    Paul Creswick

  • Now lets have that screed again, Tom, and Ill have a go at translating it.

  • I offered him a shilling if he could "screed me aff effectual calling."

British Dictionary definitions for screed



a long or prolonged speech or piece of writing
a strip of wood, plaster, or metal placed on a surface to act as a guide to the thickness of the cement or plaster coat to be applied
a mixture of cement, sand, and water applied to a concrete slab, etc, to give a smooth surface finish
Scot a rent or tear or the sound produced by this

Word Origin for screed

C14: probably variant of Old English scrēade shred
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 screed

early 14c., "fragment," also "strip of cloth," from northern England dialectal variant of Old English screade (see shred (n.)). Meaning "lengthy speech" is first recorded 1789, from notion of reading from a long list.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper