English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle English scremen, scræmen, probably from a fusion of Middle Dutch scremen (to yell; shout) and Old Norse skræma (to terrify; scare); compare Dutch schremen (to shout; yell; cry), Swedish skrämma (to spook; frighten), Danish skræmme (to scare), West Frisian skrieme (to weep). Compare also Swedish skräna (to yell; shout; howl), Dutch schreien (to cry; weep), German schreien (to scream). Related to shriek, skrike.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

scream (plural screams)

  1. A loud, emphatic, exclamation of extreme emotion, especially horror, fear, excitement, or anger; it may comprise a word or a sustained, high-pitched vowel sound.
  2. A loud vocalisation of many animals, especially in response to pain or fear.
  3. (music) A form of singing associated with the metal and screamo styles of music. It is a loud, rough, distorted version of the voice; rather than the normal voice of the singer.
  4. (informal) Used as an intensifier.
    We had a real scream of a time at the beach.
    • 1994 June 28, “Kingdom of the faithful: Serena Mackesy visits Jordan”, in Independent:
      Amman, though not exactly your world cultural centre, is a scream of a city; all the roads have different names from their official ones, so that maps are useless
  5. (printers' slang) An exclamation mark.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Verb edit

scream (third-person singular simple present screams, present participle screaming, simple past and past participle screamed or (nonstandard) screamt)

  1. (intransitive, also figuratively) To cry out with a shrill voice; to utter a sudden, shout outcry, or shrill, loud cry, as in fright or extreme pain; to screech, to shriek.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shout
    • c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
      I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 303:
      When we crossed the river, I heard a terrible cry, and I blessed the child again, the others said it was only the loon, which screamed for bad weather." "Yes, that would have been sufficient, if there was nothing else but the loon," said Gubjor; "when it screams at a new-born babe, that child is bewitched."
    • 2006, The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, “Harley Got Devoured by the Undead”, in An Even Scarier Solstice:
      Well, I waited and I waited / For some word from down below / And then ol' Harley started screaming / "Run, my God, now, Carter, go man go!"
    • 2016 October 2, Nick Cohen, “Liberal Guilt Won't Fight Nationalism”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 195, numbers 17 (30 September – 6 October 2016), London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 21, column 3:
      Meanwhile, the authoritarianism, which has turned left-liberalism into a movement for sneaks and prudes, was always going to play into the hands of the right. Free citizens have stopped listening to those who respond to the challenge of argument by screaming for the police to arrest the politically incorrect or for universities to ban speakers who depart from leftish orthodoxy.
    • 2020 December 9, Drachinifel, 22:54 from the start, in Guadalcanal Campaign - Cape Esperance (IJN 1 : 2 USN)[1], archived from the original on 4 December 2022:
      One hit high on Farenholt snipped off the radar antenna rather neatly and sent splinters down into the torpedo launcher below, one of which blew out the air flask of a torpedo, which immediately launched itself straight out of the tube, and, rather unhelpfully, since the torpedo launcher was currently positioned pointing forward, wedged itself, motor screaming, in the forefunnel. Luckily, unlike Buchanan's weapon, this one was faulty; the motor ran out, but the automatic destruct function failed to work.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively)
    1. To move quickly; to race.
      Synonyms: speed, zoom; see also Thesaurus:move quickly, Thesaurus:rush
      He almost hit a pole, the way he came screaming down the hill.
      • 2021 February 3, Drachinifel, 11:05 from the start, in Guadalcanal Campaign - Santa Cruz (IJN 2 : 2 USN)[2], archived from the original on 4 December 2022:
        Things had improved a little bit compared to the Eastern Solomons, and three dozen F4F Wildcats on combat air patrol were vectored onto the oncoming hostiles, but once that initial task was accomplished, things began to collapse back into the cacophony and chaos that was all too familiar to those aboard the Enterprise, meaning that the end result was round about the same, the Japanese aircraft screaming into their attack runs on Hornet about the same time as most of the Wildcats managed to sort themselves out to begin their own attacks on the incoming.
    2. (informal) To be very indicative of; clearly having the characteristics of.
      Do you know what screams "I’m obnoxious"? People who feel the need to comment on every little thing they notice.
      • 2023 November 4, Kim Duong, Megan Uy, Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien, “22 Best Shackets to Get You Through the Chilly Fall Weather”, in Cosmopolitan[3]:
        Nothing screams fall like corduroy! I'm loving this deep seafoam green shacket—made of the thick, ribbed material—that'll give a fab pop of color to a muted ensemble.

Conjugation edit

Derived terms edit

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