See also: Screen


Inflatable screen (AIRSCREEN) in Granada
Neoclassical screen, circa 1786


From Middle English scren, screne (windscreen, firescreen), from Anglo-Norman escren (firescreen, the tester of a bed), Old French escren, escrein, escran (modern French écran (screen)), from Middle Dutch scherm, from Old Dutch *skirm, from Proto-West Germanic *skirmi, from Proto-Germanic *skirmiz (fur, shelter, covering, screen), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to cut, divide). Cognate with Dutch scherm (screen), German Schirm (screen). Doublet of scherm.

An alternative etymology derives Old French escren from Old Dutch *skrank (barrier) (compare German Schrank (cupboard), Schranke (fence).[1]


  • enPR: skrēn, IPA(key): /skɹiːn/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːn


screen (plural screens)

  1. A physical divider intended to block an area from view, or provide shelter from something dangerous.
    a fire screen
  2. A material woven from fine wires intended to block animals or large particles from passing while allowing gasses, liquids and finer particles to pass.
    1. (mining, quarrying) A frame supporting a mesh of bars or wires used to classify fragments of stone by size, allowing the passage of fragments whose a diameter is smaller than the distance between the bars or wires.
    2. (baseball) The protective netting which protects the audience from flying objects
      Jones caught the foul up against the screen.
    3. (printing) A stencil upon a framed mesh through which paint is forced onto printed-on material; the frame with the mesh itself.
  3. (by analogy) Searching through a sample for a target; an act of screening
    a drug screen, a genetic screen
    1. (genetics) A technique used to identify genes so as to study gene functions.
  4. Various forms or formats of information display
    1. The viewing surface or area of a movie, or moving picture or slide presentation.
    2. The informational viewing area of electronic devices, where output is displayed.
      • 1977, Sex Pistols, Spunk, “Problems” (song):
        You won't find me living for the screen [] I ain't equipment I ain't automatic
    3. One of the individual regions of a video game, etc. divided into separate screens.
      • 1988, Marcus Berkmann, Sophistry (video game review) in Your Sinclair issue 30, June 1988
        The idea is to reach the 21st level of an enormous network of interlocking screens, each of which is covered with blocks that you bounce along on.
      • 1989, Compute (volume 11, page 51)
        Bub and Bob, the brontosaur buddies, must battle bullies by bursting their bubbles. One or two players can move through 100 screens of arcade-style graphics.
    4. (computing) The visualised data or imagery displayed on a computer screen.
      After you turn on the computer, the login screen appears.
  5. Definitions related to standing in the path of an opposing player
    1. (American football) Short for screen pass.
    2. (basketball) An offensive tactic in which a player stands so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
      Synonym: pick
  6. (cricket) An erection of white canvas or wood placed on the boundary opposite a batsman to make the ball more easily visible.
  7. (nautical) A collection of less-valuable vessels that travel with a more valuable one for the latter's protection.
  8. (architecture) A dwarf wall or partition carried up to a certain height for separation and protection, as in a church, to separate the aisle from the choir, etc.
  9. (Scotland, archaic) A large scarf.


Hyponyms of screen (noun)

Derived termsEdit

Terms derived from screen (noun)

Related termsEdit

Related terms of screen (noun)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, s.v. "screen" (NY: Gramercy Books, 1996), 1721.


screen (third-person singular simple present screens, present participle screening, simple past and past participle screened)

  1. To filter by passing through a screen.
    Mary screened the beans to remove the clumps of gravel.
  2. To shelter or conceal.
  3. To remove information, or censor intellectual material from viewing.
    The news report was screened because it accused the politician of wrongdoing.
  4. (film, television) To present publicly (on the screen).
    The news report will be screened at 11:00 tonight.
  5. To fit with a screen.
    We need to screen this porch. These bugs are driving me crazy.
  6. (medicine) To examine patients or treat a sample in order to detect a chemical or a disease, or to assess susceptibility to a disease.
  7. (molecular biology) To search chemical libraries by means of a computational technique in order to identify chemical compounds which would potentially bind to a given biological target such as a protein.
  8. (basketball) To stand so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
    Synonym: pick
  9. To determine the source or subject matter of a call before deciding whether to answer the phone.
    • 1987 April 7, Associated Press (story title as printed in New York Times[1])
      A Phone to Screen Calls
    • 2012 January 15, Essentials of Business Communication, →ISBN, page 343:
      If you screen your calls as a time management technique, try this message: I'm not near my phone right now, but I should be able to return calls after 3:30.
    • 2018 October 10, “The Daily 202”, in WashingtonPost[2]:
      The new phones can take pictures, screen calls and even make calls on their own.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit