from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To utter a long loud piercing cry, as from pain or fear.
  • intransitive v. To make a loud piercing sound: Jet planes screamed through the air.
  • intransitive v. To speak or write in a heated hysterical manner.
  • intransitive v. To have or produce a startling effect: The outlandish costume screamed with clashing colors.
  • transitive v. To utter or say in or as if in a screaming voice.
  • n. A long, loud, piercing cry or sound.
  • n. Informal One that is hilariously or ridiculously funny: The new play was a scream.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A loud, emphatic, exclamation of extreme emotion, usually horror, fear, excitement et cetera. Can be the exclamation of a word, but is usually a sustained, high-pitched vowel sound, particularly /æ/ or /i/, in any case, the loudest and most emphatic sound a human can make tends to be a scream. The term is not generally applied to sounds made by non-humans.
  • n. An entertainingly outrageous person.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Used as an intensifier
  • v. To make the sound of a scream.
  • v. To move quickly; to race.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sharp, shrill cry, uttered suddenly, as in terror or in pain; a shriek; a screech.
  • intransitive v. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cry out with shrill voice; give vent or utterance to a sharp or piercing outcry; utter shrill cries, as in fright or extreme pain, delight, etc.
  • To give out a shrill sound: as, the railway whistle screamed.
  • n. A sharp, piercing sound or cry, as one uttered in fright, pain, etc.
  • n. A sharp, harsh sound.
  • n. Synonyms Scream, Shriek, Screech. A shriek is sharper, more sudden, and, when due to fear or pain, indicative of more terror or distress than a scream. Screech emphasizes the disagreeableness of the sharpness or shrillness, and its lack of dignity in a person. It is more distinctly figurative to speak of the shriek of a locomotive than to speak of its scream or screech.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a high-pitched noise resembling a human cry
  • n. a joke that seems extremely funny
  • v. utter or declare in a very loud voice
  • v. make a loud, piercing sound
  • v. utter a sudden loud cry
  • n. sharp piercing cry


Middle English screamen, possibly of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse scræma.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
shreamen (compare Old Norwegian skræma). related to shriek, skrike. cognate with West Frisian skrieme (to weep) German schreien (Schrei) (Wiktionary)


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