Definitions

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

  • n. A high-pitched, strident cry.
  • n. A sound suggestive of this cry: the screech of train brakes.
  • transitive v. To utter in or as if in a screech.
  • intransitive v. To cry out in a high-pitched, strident voice.
  • intransitive v. To make a sound suggestive of a screech: Tires screeched on the wet pavement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A high-pitched strident or piercing sound, such as that between a moving object and any surface.
  • n. A loud harsh sound resembling a human cry.
  • n. Newfoundland rum.
  • n. A form of home-made rye whiskey made from used oak rye barrels from a distillery.
  • v. To make such a sound.
  • v. to travel very fast, as if making the sounds of brakes being released

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A harsh, shrill cry, as of one in acute pain or in fright; a shriek; a scream.
  • intransitive v. To utter a harsh, shrill cry; to make a sharp outcry, as in terror or acute pain; to scream; to shriek.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cry out with a sharp, shrill voice; scream harshly or stridently; shriek.
  • Synonyms See scream, n.
  • To utter (a screech).
  • n. A sharp, shrill cry; a harsh scream.
  • n. Any sharp, shrill noise: as, the screech of a railway-whistle.
  • n. In ornithology, the mistlethrush, Turdus viscivorus.
  • n. Synonyms Shriek, etc. See scream.

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

  • v. utter a harsh abrupt scream
  • v. make a high-pitched, screeching noise
  • n. a high-pitched noise resembling a human cry
  • n. sharp piercing cry

Etymologies

Alteration of obsolete scrich, from Middle English scrichen, to screech, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skrækja.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • I've had screech. It made me drunk, but I'm 90% certain I kissed no cod.

    January 5, 2008

  • Usage, in keeping with the Newfoundland theme of this page:
    "Along the battered headlands, a lighthouse stands defiantly against a mackerel sky. Herring gulls squabble in high-pitched cacophony. A whale's blow sprouts from the sea. I try to imagine the winter here. Isolation. Darkness. The constant threat of starvation. How soothing it must have been to warm the cockles with some fiery rum.

    "Screech was introduced to Newfoundland in colonial days, when salt cod was traded to the West Indies in exchange for what was then a no-name rum. The nickname apparently is of World War II vintage: It seems that an American officer downed a shot of this Newfoundland hospitality in one gulp and let out a screeching howl when his throat ignited." --Paula Stone, "A Trip Off the Old Rock," Washington Post, Sunday, April 22, 2007; Page P01.

    January 5, 2008

  • You know, I was just asking myself whether I'd submit to that--and to my surprise, I realized I would! What fun. :-)

    December 7, 2007

  • Oh god, what I wouldn't give to be screeched-in in Newfoundland... I'd kiss a cod, damn straight I would!

    December 6, 2007

  • Moose milk? Do tell!

    December 5, 2007

  • My information on screech comes from my sister, who lived in Newfoundland for three years before moving to Ontario. I will have to ask her about the cod-kissing tradition. certainly, based on photographic evidence of her time there, the prevailing impression is that liquor played an important role as a (means of preserving one's sanity/social lubricant). There was also some mysterious concoction known as moose milk.

    December 5, 2007

  • Isn't this concoction the basis of a longtime tradition of "screeching" a newcomer in Newfoundland? You have to drink a shot of screech, kiss a cod on the mouth, and recite a Newfoundland saying before receiving an official screechers' certificate. Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure. :-)

    December 4, 2007

  • Some kind of rum-based alcoholic concoction, popular in Newfoundland,

    December 4, 2007