View synonyms for shrill


[ shril ]


, shrill·er, shrill·est.
  1. high-pitched and piercing in sound quality:

    a shrill cry.

  2. producing such a sound.
  3. full of or characterized by such a sound:

    shrill music.

  4. betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount, as antagonism or defensiveness.
  5. marked by great intensity; keen:

    the shrill, incandescent light of the exploding bomb.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to cry shrilly.


  1. a shrill sound.


  1. in a shrill manner; shrilly.


/ ʃrɪl /


  1. sharp and high-pitched in quality
  2. emitting a sharp high-pitched sound


  1. to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
  2. rare.
    tr to cause to produce a shrill sound

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Derived Forms

  • ˈshrillness, noun
  • ˈshrilly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • shrillness noun
  • shrilly adverb
  • outshrill verb (used with object)
  • un·shrill adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of shrill1

1300–50; Middle English shrille (adj., v.); akin to Old English scrallettan to sound loudly; cognate with German schrill (adj.), schrillen (v.); compare Old Norse skrīll rabble

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Word History and Origins

Origin of shrill1

C14: probably from Old English scralletan; related to German schrill shrill, Dutch schrallen to shriek

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Example Sentences

These are serious problems — but in contrast, he treats the equality movement among sexual and gender minorities as essentially shrill window-dressing.

From Vox

Unfortunately, the right’s shrill complaints about cancel culture obscure this far more present and complex problem.

Hearing them without describing them as shrill or hysterical has proved to be a separate, but equally daunting, task.

Memes have moved on from kitsch and community-forming to shrill and preachy.

In the city, where the songbirds have to compete with cars, barking dogs, and construction, their calls were louder and more shrill.

Behind a chorus of shrill insects, the pops of gunfire can sometimes be heard in the distance.

“When I was doing press for Whitney, critics were commenting on my appearance, saying I was shrill, saying I was needy,” she says.

We're so used to seeing in sitcoms the same relationship: the naggy, shrill wife who's constantly bickering with her husband.

The noise in the stadium grew for every point he won, but the points he lost were greeted with shrill, desperate screams.

Her voice was shrill with disbelief and choked with grief as she spoke to someone on her cell phone in Fujianese.

Robert uttered a shrill, piercing whistle which might have been heard back at the wharf.

"God bless 'ee, Missy," cried the old man in the shrill cracked voice of age, as he pressed up to the carriage window.

"Come in," said a Cockney voice shrill with youth, in answer to her tap; and the child obeyed.

"I shall feed no Yankees," cried a shrill voice, and a young lady flounced out of the door, her face red with anger.

As they came trooping in, and tumbled into their seats, Letty Barford called out, in a shrill voice.