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.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /skɹiːm/
- (General American) enPR: skrīm, IPA(key): /skɹim/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːm
scream (plural screams)
- 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.
- (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.
- (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
- (printers' slang) exclamation mark
- To cry out with a shrill voice; to utter a sudden, sharp outcry, or shrill, loud cry, as in fright or extreme pain; to shriek; to screech.
- c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
- I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
- To move quickly; to race.
- He almost hit a pole, the way he came screaming down the hill.
- (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.
- (make the sound of a scream): see also Thesaurus:shout
- (move quickly): speed, zoom; see also Thesaurus:move quickly or Thesaurus:rush