English edit

Etymology edit

1602; altered with expressive vowel lengthening from earlier skrech (1577), variant of obsolete scritch, from Middle English skriken, shrichen, schrichen (1250), from Old English (attested as scriccettan) and Old Norse skríkja, both from Proto-Germanic *skrīkijaną (compare Icelandic skríkja, Old Saxon scricōn, Danish skrige, Swedish skrika), derivative of *skrīhaną (compare Middle Dutch schriën, German schreien, Low German dial. schrien, schriegen), ultimately of imitative origin.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: skrēch, IPA(key): /skɹiːt͡ʃ/
    • (UK) IPA(key): [skɹiːt͡ʃ]
    • (file)
    • (US) IPA(key): [skɹit͡ʃ]
  • Rhymes: -iːt͡ʃ

Noun edit

screech (countable and uncountable, plural screeches)

  1. (countable) A high-pitched strident or piercing sound, such as that between a moving object and any surface.
  2. (countable) A harsh, shrill cry, as of one in acute pain or in fright; a shriek; a scream.
  3. (Newfoundlander, uncountable) Newfoundland rum.
  4. (uncountable) A form of home-made rye whiskey made from used oak rye barrels from a distillery.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Verb edit

screech (third-person singular simple present screeches, present participle screeching, simple past and past participle screeched)

  1. To make such a sound.
    • 1826, [Mary Shelley], chapter VI, in The Last Man. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC:
      That the night owl should screech before the noonday sun, that the bat should wheel around the bad of beauty []
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 48:
      "Have you not met them?" "No, I have met nothing but three cormorants, which were sitting on a bit of drift-wood screeching."
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I, page 213:
      They said he had caused the fire in some way; be that as it may, he was screeching most horribly.
    • 1947 January and February, O. S. Nock, “"The Aberdonian" in Wartime”, in Railway Magazine, page 8:
      The tide was out, and we drew up amid the strong bracing smell of seaweed, with gulls screeching, wheeling around, and gliding on the wind.
    • 2004 April 15, “Morning swoop in hunt for Jodi's killer”, in The Scotsman[1]:
      AS THE residents of the quiet Midlothian housing estate prepared for the day ahead, the early-morning stillness was disturbed by the sound of screeching brakes and slamming doors.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To travel very fast, as if making the sound of a car that is driving too fast.
    • 2011 December 12, Sid Lowe, “Víctor Valdés epitomises Barcelona's bravery as Real Madrid falter”, in the Guardian[2]:
      You've got to admire their balls. Real Madrid screeched after them: an entire herd, powerful and co-ordinated, salivating and breathing hard, murder in their eyes. So Barcelona moved the ball on, away from them. Forced back, it was played into Víctor Valdés, the goalkeeper, who slotted it to Carles Puyol, who gave it back again.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Anagrams edit