verb (used without object)

to play the bagpipe.
Scot. and North England. to shriek.


the sound of a bagpipe.
Scot. and North England. any shrill sound.

Origin of skirl

1350–1400; Middle English scirlen, skrillen (v.), perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian skrella boom, crash Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skirl

Historical Examples of skirl

British Dictionary definitions for skirl


verb (intr)

Scot and Northern English dialect (esp of bagpipes) to emit a shrill sound
to play the bagpipes


the sound of bagpipes
a shrill sound

Word Origin for skirl

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; see shrill
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 skirl

"to make a shrill sound," mid-15c., from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian skyrlaskrella "to shriek"), of imitative origin. In reference to bagpipes, it is attested by 1660s and now rarely used otherwise. As a noun 1510s from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper