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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

Examples from the Web for shrilled

Historical Examples

  • "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

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