verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to be projected on a motion-picture screen.

Origin of screen

1350–1400; Middle English screne (noun) < Anglo-French; Old French escren (French écran) < Frankish *skrank, cognate with Old High German scrank barrier (German Schrank cupboard)
Related formsscreen·a·ble, adjectivescreen·er, nounscreen·less, adjectivescreen·like, adjectivere·screen, verb (used with object)su·per·screen, noun, adjectiveun·screen·a·ble, adjectiveun·screened, adjectivewell-screened, adjective

Synonyms for screen

Synonym study

7. See cover. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for screen

Contemporary Examples of screen

Historical Examples of screen

  • He took Viviette by the arm and roughly thrust her past the screen.


    William J. Locke

  • A nurse stayed behind the screen, and her work was done by the others.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The doctor motioned me to a table behind the screen of which Kitty had spoken.

  • It was Miss Eileen that heard the screen ripped out and told me it was gone.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Then they tore out the dam, rinsed the screen and spread it over a rock to dry.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

British Dictionary definitions for screen



a light movable frame, panel, or partition serving to shelter, divide, hide, etc
anything that serves to shelter, protect, or conceal
a frame containing a mesh that is placed over a window or opening to keep out insects
a decorated partition, esp in a church around the choirSee also rood (def. 1)
a sieve
a system for selecting people, such as candidates for a job
the wide end of a cathode-ray tube, esp in a television set, on which a visible image is formed
a white or silvered surface, usually fabric, placed in front of a projector to receive the enlarged image of a film or of slides
the screen the film industry or films collectively
photog a plate of ground glass in some types of camera on which the image of a subject is focused before being photographed
printing a glass marked with fine intersecting lines, used in a camera for making half-tone reproductions
men or ships deployed around and ahead of a larger military formation to warn of attack or protect from a specific threat
sport, mainly US and Canadian a tactical ploy in which a player blocks an opponent's view
psychoanal anything that prevents a person from realizing his true feelings about someone or something
electronics See screen grid

verb (tr)

(sometimes foll by off) to shelter, protect, or conceal
to sieve or sort
to test or check (an individual or group) so as to determine suitability for a task, etc
to examine for the presence of a disease, weapons, etcthe authorities screened five hundred cholera suspects
to provide with a screen or screens
to project (a film) onto a screen, esp for public viewing
(intr) to be shown at a cinema or on the television
printing to photograph (a picture) through a screen to render it suitable for half-tone reproduction
sport, mainly US and Canadian to block the view of (an opposing player)
Derived Formsscreenable, adjectivescreener, nounscreenful, nounscreenlike, adjective

Word Origin for screen

C15: from Old French escren (French écran); related to Old High German skrank, German Schrank cupboard
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 screen

mid-14c., "upright piece of furniture providing protection from heat of a fire, drafts, etc.," probably from a shortened (Anglo-French? cf. Anglo-Latin screna) variant of Old North French escren, Old French escran "fire-screen" (early 14c.), perhaps from Middle Dutch scherm "screen, cover, shield," or Frankish *skrank "barrier," from Proto-Germanic *skerm- (cf. Old High German skirm, skerm "protection," from PIE *(s)ker- "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

Meaning "net-wire frame used in windows and doors" is recorded from 1859. Meaning "flat vertical surface for reception of projected images" is from 1810, originally in reference to magic lantern shows; later of movies. Transferred sense of "cinema world collectively" is attested from 1914; hence screen test (1918), etc. Screen saver first attested 1990. Screen printing recorded from 1918.


"to shield from punishment, to conceal," late 15c., from screen (n.). Meaning "examine systematically for suitability" is from 1943; sense of "to release a movie" is from 1915. Related: Screened; screening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

screen in Medicine




One that serves to protect, conceal, or divide.
The white or silver surface on which a picture is projected for viewing.
A screen memory.


To process a group of people in order to select or separate certain individuals from it.
To test or examine for the presence of disease or infection.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

screen in Science



The surface on which an image is displayed, as on a television, computer monitor, or radar receiver.
An electrode placed between the plate (anode) and the control grid in a tetrode valve, used to reduce the capacitance between the grid and the plate, increasing its ability to respond to high frequencies, especially radio frequencies.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.