the act or work of a person who screens, as in ascertaining the character and competence of applicants, employees, etc.
the showing of a motion picture: There will be screenings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
screenings, (used with a singular or plural verb)
  1. undesirable material that has been separated from usable material by means of a screen or sieve: screenings of imperfect grain.
  2. extremely fine coal.
the meshed material used in screens for windows and doors.

Origin of screening

First recorded in 1715–25; screen + -ing1
Related formspre·screen·ing, noun




a movable or fixed device, usually consisting of a covered frame, that provides shelter, serves as a partition, etc.
a permanent, usually ornamental partition, as around the choir of a church or across the hall of a medieval house.
a specially prepared, light-reflecting surface on which motion pictures, slides, etc., may be projected.
Electronics. a surface on which electronically created images or text are displayed, as on a television, computer, mobile device, or radar receiver.
Digital Technology. frame(def 10).
motion pictures collectively or the motion-picture industry.
anything that shelters, protects, or conceals: a screen of secrecy; A screen of fog prevented our seeing the ship.
a frame holding a mesh of wire, cloth, or plastic, for placing in a window or doorway, around a porch, etc., to admit air but exclude insects.
a sieve, riddle, or other meshlike device used to separate smaller particles or objects from larger ones, as for grain or sand.
a system for screening or grouping people, objects, etc.
Military. a body of troops sent out to protect the movement of an army.
Navy. a protective formation of small vessels, as destroyers, around or in front of a larger ship or ships.
Physics. a shield designed to prevent interference between various agencies: electric screen.
Electronics. screen grid.
Photography. a plate of ground glass or the like on which the image is brought into focus in a camera before being photographed.
Photoengraving. a transparent plate containing two sets of fine parallel lines, one crossing the other, used in the halftone process.
  1. any of various offensive plays in which teammates form a protective formation around the ball carrier, pass receiver, shooter, etc.
  2. any of various defensive plays in which teammates conceal or block an opposing ball carrier, pass receiver, shooter, or the goal, basket, net, etc., itself.

verb (used with object)

to shelter, protect, or conceal with or as if with a screen.
to select, reject, consider, or group (people, objects, ideas, etc.) by examining systematically: Job applicants were screened by the personnel department.
to provide with a screen or screens to exclude insects: He screened the porch so they could enjoy sitting out on summer evenings.
to sift or sort by passing through a screen.
to project (a motion picture, slide, etc.) on a screen.
  1. to show (a motion picture), especially to an invited audience, as of exhibitors and critics.
  2. to photograph with a motion-picture camera; film.
  3. to adapt (a story, play, etc.) for presentation as a motion picture.
to lighten (type or areas of a line engraving) by etching a regular pattern of dots or lines into the printing surface.

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 screening

Contemporary Examples of screening

Historical Examples of screening

  • Instead of screening him I had dragged him in front of the footlights.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Sometimes I have thought, sir, when puzzling over it, that he may be screening another.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Into the screening shadow of the giant trees, and the sheltering blackness.

    Happy Ending

    Fredric Brown

  • Screening it with my hand, I retraced my steps and regained the chancel.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Eyes (roving from one group of screening trees to the next): It can be done.

British Dictionary definitions for screening



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 screening



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

screening in Medicine




The examination of a group of usually asymptomatic individuals to detect those with a high probability of having or developing a given disease.
The initial evaluation of an individual, intended to determine suitability for a particular treatment modality.




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.

screening 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.