See more synonyms for shriek on
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a loud, sharp, shrill cry, as birds.
  2. to cry out sharply in a high voice: to shriek with pain.
  3. to utter loud, high-pitched sounds in laughing.
  4. (of a musical instrument, a whistle, the wind, etc.) to give forth a loud, shrill sound.
verb (used with object)
  1. to utter in a shriek: to shriek defiance.

Origin of shriek

1560–70; earlier shrick, N variant of shritch (now dial.), Middle English schrichen, back formation from Old English scriccettan; akin to shrike
Related formsshriek·er, nounshriek·ing·ly, adverbshriek·y, adjectiveout·shriek, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for shriek

See more synonyms for on
1, 5. scream, screech. 5. See scream. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shrieking

piercing, sharp, shrill

Examples from the Web for shrieking

Contemporary Examples of shrieking

Historical Examples of shrieking

  • She fell to the floor in helpless, shrieking laughter when he came.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Shrieking and crashing, the vulture-forces of destruction sweep upon it.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • Shrieking, I hurled free of him, and rolled over the tail-board on to the stubble.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • His suffering limbs were, so to speak, shrieking for mercy but he would not give it to them.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • At the next moment the dog had leaped upon the man, and he was shrieking on the ground.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for shrieking


  1. a shrill and piercing cry
  1. to produce or utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill piercing tone
Derived Formsshrieker, noun

Word Origin for shriek

C16: probably from Old Norse skrækja to 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 shrieking



16c. variant of scrycke (c.1200), from Old Norse skrækja "to screech" (see screech), probably of imitative origin. Related: Shrieked; shrieking. The noun is attested from 1580s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper