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

  • n. A long monotonous speech or piece of writing.
  • n. A strip of wood, plaster, or metal placed on a wall or pavement as a guide for the even application of plaster or concrete.
  • n. A layer or strip of material used to level off a horizontal surface such as a floor.
  • n. A smooth final surface of a substance, such as concrete, applied to a floor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long discourse or harangue.
  • n. A piece of writing.
  • n. A tool, usually a long strip of wood or other material, for producing a smooth, flat surface on, for example, a concrete floor or a plaster wall.
  • n. A smooth flat layer of concrete or similar material.
  • v. To produce a smooth flat layer of concrete or similar material.
  • v. To use a screed (tool).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A strip of plaster of the thickness proposed for the coat, applied to the wall at intervals of four or five feet, as a guide.
  • n. A wooden straightedge used to lay across the plaster screed, as a limit for the thickness of the coat.
  • n. A fragment; a portion; a shred.
  • n. A breach or rent; a breaking forth into a loud, shrill sound.
  • n. An harangue; a long tirade on any subject.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rend; tear.
  • To repeat glibly; dash off with spirit.
  • n. A piece torn off; a shred: as, a screed of cloth.
  • n. A long strip of anything; hence, a prolonged tirade; a harangue.
  • n. In plastering:
  • n. A strip of mortar about 6 or 8 inches wide, by which any surface about to be plastered is divided into bays or compartments.
  • n. A strip of wood similarly used.
  • n. The act of rending or tearing; a rent; a tear.
  • n. A band of paper or other material placed around a piece of cloth to keep the loose end in place, to prevent injury when cords are tied around it in packing, and for trade-mark and ornamental purposes. Generally used in sets of two.

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

  • n. a long monotonous harangue
  • n. an accurately levelled strip of material placed on a wall or floor as guide for the even application of plaster or concrete
  • n. a long piece of writing


Middle English screde, fragment, strip of cloth, from Old English scrēade, shred.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English screde ("fragment, strip of cloth") (from which also shred), from Old English scrēade (Wiktionary)



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  • An article today in The Guardian on the mass-killer in Oregon reminded me of this word (perhaps my focus on words is a way of distracting myself from the hideous reality):

    "The 26-year-old, obsessed by the macabre hoopla surrounding other mass shootings, left a note – a multi-page, angry screed, it was reported – and murdered with apparent yearning for posthumous notoriety."

    "Screed" seems exactly the right word here, and this convinced me that it should be on my Fibrous Words list. By the way, notice the apt use also of the word notoriety.

    October 4, 2015