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 Norse, Old skríkja, both from Proto-Germanic *skrīkijaną (compare Icelandic skríkja, osx scricōn, Danish skrige, Swedish skrika), derivative of *skrīhaną (compare Dutch, Middle (ca.1050-1350) schriën, German schreien, Low German dial. Pronunciation
  • enPR: skrēch, IPA: /skɹiːtʃ/
    • (British) IPA: [skɹiːtʃ]
    • (America) IPA: [skɹitʃ]


  1. A high-pitched strident or piercing sound, such as that between a moving object and any surface.
  2. A harsh, shrill cry, as of one in acute pain or in fright; a shriek; a scream.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, volume 3, chapter 6
      That the night owl should sreech before the noonday sun, that the bat should wheel around the bad of beauty [...]
  3. (Newfoundlander, uncountable) Newfoundland rum.
  4. A form of home-made rye whiskey made from used oak rye barrels from a distillery.
Translations Translations Verb

screech (screeches, present participle screeching; past and past participle screeched)

  1. To make such a sound.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) to travel very fast, as if making the sounds of brakes being released

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