WORD ORIGIN noun a short, sharp, shrill cry; a sharp, high-pitched sound. . Informal opportunity; chance: their last squeak to correct the manuscript. an escape from defeat, danger, death, or destruction (usually qualified by narrow or close). verb (used without object) to utter or emit a squeak or squeaky sound. . Slang to confess or turn informer; squeal. verb (used with object) to utter or sound with a squeak or squeaks. Verb Phrases squeak , by/ through to succeed, survive, pass, win, etc., by a very narrow margin: They can barely squeak by on their income. The team managed to squeak through. Origin of squeak 1350–1400; Middle English squeken, perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Swedish skväka to croak Related forms squeak·ing·ly, adverb
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for squeak by noun a short shrill cry or high-pitched sound informal an escape (esp in the phrases narrow squeak, near squeak) verb to make or cause to make a squeak (intr ; usually foll by through or by) to pass with only a narrow margin to squeak through an examination (intr) informal to confess information about oneself or another (tr) to utter with a squeak Derived Forms squeaker, noun squeaky, adjective squeakily, adverb squeakiness, noun Word Origin for squeak
C17: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish
skväka to croak
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for squeak by v.
late 14c., probably of imitative origin, similar to Middle Swedish
skväka "to squeak, croak." Related: Squeaked; squeaking. The noun is from 1660s; sense of "narrow escape" is from 1822.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with squeak by
squeak through. Manage barely to pass, win, survive, or the like, as in They are just squeaking by on their income, or He squeaked through the driver's test. This idiom transfers squeak in the sense of “barely emit a sound” to “narrowly manage something.” [First half of 1900s] Also see squeeze through.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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