From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From obsolete shrick (1567), shreke, variants of earlier screak, skricke (before 1500), from Middle English scrycke, from a North Germanic/Scandinavian language (compare Swedish skrika, Icelandic skríkja), from Proto-Germanic *skrīkijaną, *skrik- (compare English screech). More at screech.


  • IPA(key): /ʃɹiːk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːk


shriek (plural shrieks)

  1. A sharp, shrill outcry or scream; a shrill wild cry such as is caused by sudden or extreme terror, pain, or the like.
    • 1697, Virgil, “The Seventh Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      Shrieks, clamours, murmurs, fill the frighted town.
    • 1912 October, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Tarzan of the Apes”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., →OCLC; republished as chapter 5, in Tarzan of the Apes, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, 1914 June, →OCLC:
      Sabor, the lioness, was a wise hunter. To one less wise the wild alarm of her fierce cry as she sprang would have seemed a foolish thing, for could she not more surely have fallen upon her victims had she but quietly leaped without that loud shriek?
  2. (UK, slang) An exclamation mark.

Derived terms[edit]



shriek (third-person singular simple present shrieks, present participle shrieking, simple past and past participle shrieked)

  1. (intransitive) To utter a loud, sharp, shrill sound or cry, as do some birds and beasts; to scream, as in a sudden fright, in horror or anguish.
  2. (transitive) To utter sharply and shrilly; to utter in or with a shriek or shrieks.

Derived terms[edit]