Pronunciation Adjective

shrill (comparative shriller, superlative shrillest)

  1. High-pitched and piercing#Adjective|piercing.
    The woods rang with shrill cries of the birds.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, prologue], page 77 ↗, column 1:
      Suppoſe, that you haue ſeene / The well-appointed King at Douer pier#English|Peer, / Embarke his Royaltie: and his braue Fleet, / With ſilken Streamers, the young Phoebus#English|Phebus fanning#English|fayning; / [...] Heare the ſhrill Whiſtle, which doth order giue / To ſounds confus'd.
    • 1812, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. A Romaunt, London: Printed for John Murray, […]; William Blackwood, Edinburgh; and John Cumming, Dublin; by Thomas Davison, […], OCLC 22697011 ↗, canto I, stanza XIII.4, page 11 ↗:
      Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high, / I fear not wave nor wind; / Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I / Am sorrowful in mind; [...]
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VI, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In Three Volumes, volume III, London: Printed [by Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744 ↗, [;view=1up;seq=126 page 118]:
      But I discovered no trace of him, and was beginning to conjecture that some fortunate chance had intervened to prevent the execution of his menaces; when suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream.
  2. Having a shrill voice.
  3. Sharp or keen#Adjective|keen to the sense#Noun|senses.
  4. (figuratively, derogatory, especially of a complaint or demand) Fierce, loud, strident.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

shrill (shrills, present participle shrilling; past and past participle shrilled)

  1. To make a shrill noise.
    • 1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “Nouember. Aegloga Vndecima.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: […], London: Printed by Hugh Singleton, […], OCLC 606515406 ↗; republished as The Shepheardes Calender, […], imprinted at London: By Iohn Wolfe for Iohn Harrison the yonger, […], 1586, OCLC 837880809 ↗, folio 45, recto ↗:
      And all wee dwell in deadly night, / O heauie herſe. / Breake we our pipes, that ſhrild as lowde as Larke, / O carefull verſe.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, The Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid. […] (First Quarto), London: Imprinted by G[eorge] Eld for R[ichard] Bonian and H[enry] Walley, […], published 1609, OCLC 951696502 ↗, [Act V, scene iii] ↗:
      Harke how Troy roares, how Hecuba cries out, / How poore Andromache ſhrils her dolours foorth, / Behold deſtruction, frenzie, and amazement, / Like witleſſe antics#English|antiques one another meete, / And all crie Hector, Hectors dead, O Hector.
    • 1766 March, [Oliver Goldsmith], “A Ballad”, in The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale. Supposed to be Written by Himself, volume II, Salisbury, Wiltshire: Printed by B. Collins, for F[rancis] Newbery, […], OCLC 938500648 ↗, page 57 ↗:
      The labourers of the day were all retired to reſt; the lights were out in every cottage; no ſounds were heard but of the ſhrilling cock, and the deep-mouthed watch-dog, at hollow diſtance.
    • 1791, Homer; W[illiam] Cowper, transl., “[The Iliad.] Book XVII.”, in The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated into Blank Verse, [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for J[oseph] Johnson, […], OCLC 779243096 ↗, lines 913–918, page 481 ↗:
      They, as a cloud of ſtarlings or of daws / Fly ſcreaming ſhrill, warn'd timely of the kite / Or hawk, devourers of the ſmaller kinds, / So they ſhrill—clamouring toward the fleet, / Haſted before Æneas and the might / Of Hector, nor the battle heeded more.
    • 1842, Alfred Tennyson, “Morte d’Arthur”, in Poems. [...] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: Edward Moxon, […], OCLC 1008064829 ↗, page 13 ↗:
      [F]rom them rose / A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars, / And, as it were one voice, an agony / Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills / All night in a waste land, where no one comes, / Or hath come, since the making of the world.
    • 1880 November 11, Lew[is] Wallace, chapter IV, in Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 458843234 ↗, book fourth, page 195 ↗:
      [H]e paused, while his hands clutched, and his voice shrilled with passion— [...]
  • Italian: stridere
  • Russian: визжать

shrill (plural shrills)

  1. A shrill sound#Noun|sound.
    • 1591, Ed[mund] Sp[enser], “The Ruines of Time ↗”, in Complaints. Containing Sundrie Small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie. […], London: Imprinted for VVilliam Ponsonbie, […], OCLC 15537294 ↗, part 6:
      [W]hen at laſt / I heard a voyce, which loudly to me called, / That with ſuddein ſhrill I was appalled.

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