from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A high-pitched, strident cry.
  • noun A sound suggestive of this cry.
  • intransitive verb To utter in a screech or high-pitched voice.
  • intransitive verb To cry out in a high-pitched, strident voice.
  • intransitive verb To make a sound suggestive of a screech.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A harsh, shrill cry, as of one in acute pain or in fright; a shriek; a scream.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the fieldfare; -- so called from its harsh cry before rain.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the European goatsucker; -- so called from its note.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The European barn owl. The name is applied also to other species.
  • intransitive verb To utter a harsh, shrill cry; to make a sharp outcry, as in terror or acute pain; to scream; to shriek.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb utter a harsh abrupt scream
  • verb make a high-pitched, screeching noise
  • noun a high-pitched noise resembling a human cry
  • noun sharp piercing cry


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

[Alteration of obsolete scrich, from Middle English scrichen, to screech, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skrækja.]


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

    December 4, 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

  • 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

  • Moose milk? Do tell!

    December 5, 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    January 5, 2008