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See more synonyms for shrill on Thesaurus.com
adjective, 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.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to cry shrilly.
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  1. a shrill sound.
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  1. in a shrill manner; shrilly.
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Origin of shrill

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
Related formsshrill·ness, nounshril·ly, adverbout·shrill, verb (used with object)un·shrill, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shrilled

squawk, wail, screech, whoop, howl, squeal, yelp, hoot, shriek, roar, blare, shout, holler, yell, blow, resonate, reflect, boom, resound, sing

Examples from the Web for shrilled

Historical Examples of shrilled

  • "Five hundred and fifty," shrilled Ayoub's voice above the general din.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • The mother came into the brick-paved yard and shrilled 'Paul!

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • He took the pipe in hand and turned it over and shrilled it at his lip.

  • "Go it, you deerhounds," shrilled an Irish tenor in the crowd.

  • Ingrow shrilled, “Tickle him, prick him, pink him till he drinks!”

    The Lady of Loyalty House

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

British Dictionary definitions for shrilled


  1. sharp and high-pitched in quality
  2. emitting a sharp high-pitched sound
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  1. to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
  2. (tr) rare to cause to produce a shrill sound
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Derived Formsshrillness, nounshrilly, adverb

Word Origin for shrill

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



late 14c., schrylle "high-pitched, piercing" (of the voice), probably related to Old English scralletan "to sound loudly" and of imitative origin (cf. Low German schrell, German schrill "piercing, shrill"). Related: Shrillness; shrilly (adv.).

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"to sound shrilly," c.1300, imitative (see shrill (adj.). Related: Shrilled; shrilling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper