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See more synonyms for shriek on Thesaurus.com
  1. a loud, sharp, shrill cry.
  2. a loud, high sound of laughter.
  3. any loud, shrill sound, as of a whistle.
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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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter in a shriek: to shriek defiance.
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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 Thesaurus.com
1, 5. scream, screech. 5. See scream.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shrieky

acute, high-pitched, loud, malodorous, penetrating, piercing, piping, putrid, rancid, rank, sharp, shrill, shrilly, smelly, soprano, strident, treble, reeking

Examples from the Web for shrieky

Historical Examples of shrieky

  • All day we've heard the band with its drums and trombones and shrieky music.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter

  • Omnipotence of droning, edged with shrieky squealing, which fills the Universe, not at all in a melodious way.

  • From the depths of the gamut to the shrieky top again,—a droning that has something of porcine or wild-boar character.

British Dictionary definitions for shrieky


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



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper