• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a loud, harsh cry, as a duck or other fowl when frightened.
  2. Informal. to complain loudly and vehemently.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or give forth with a squawk.
Show More
  1. a loud, harsh cry or sound.
  2. Informal. a loud, vehement complaint.
  3. the black-crowned night heron.See under night heron.
Show More

Origin of squawk

1815–25; blend of squall2 and hawk3
Related formssquawk·er, noun


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for squawking

Historical Examples

  • Squawking and yelling children swarmed over the flags and rude cobblestones that paved the ways.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Squawking birds rose in every direction as they approached, and clouds of gulls circled around crying the alarm.

    Bobby of the Labrador

    Dillon Wallace

  • Squawking chickens darted to safety and a flock of geese waddled off hissing their protest.

    The Secret of the Sundial

    Mildred A. Wirt, AKA Ann Wirt

British Dictionary definitions for squawking


  1. a loud raucous cry; screech
  2. informal a loud complaint or protest
Show More
  1. to utter a squawk or with a squawk
  2. (intr) informal to complain loudly
Show More
Derived Formssquawker, noun

Word Origin

C19: of imitative origin
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 squawking



1821, probably of imitative origin (cf. dialectal Italian squacco "small crested heron"). The noun is attested from 1850. Squawk-box "loud-speaker" is from 1945.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper