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

  • adjective High-pitched and piercing in tone or sound.
  • adjective Producing a sharp, high-pitched tone or sound.
  • adjective Sharp or keen to the senses; harshly vivid.
  • intransitive verb To utter in a shrill manner; scream.
  • intransitive verb To produce a shrill cry or sound.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Sharp and piercing in sound; high and keen (somewhat disagreeably so) in voice or note: the common use of the word.
  • Emitting or capable of emitting a sharp, high, piercing sound.
  • Piercing; sharp; affecting the senses sharply or keenly; bright.
  • noun A keen or piercing sound.
  • In a shrill manner; shrilly.
  • To utter or emit a keen, piercing, high-pitched sound.
  • To sound shrilly; be shrill.
  • To cause to give out a shrill sound.
  • To utter or produce with a shrill sound.

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

  • adjective Acute; sharp; piercing; having or emitting a sharp, piercing tone or sound; -- said of a sound, or of that which produces a sound.
  • noun obsolete A shrill sound.
  • intransitive verb To utter an acute, piercing sound; to sound with a sharp, shrill tone; to become shrill.
  • transitive verb To utter or express in a shrill tone; to cause to make a shrill sound.

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

  • adjective High-pitched and piercing.
  • adjective Sharp or keen to the senses.
  • verb To make a shrill noise.

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

  • verb utter a shrill cry
  • adjective of colors that are bright and gaudy
  • adjective being sharply insistent on being heard
  • adjective having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones


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

[Middle English shrille.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English shrille.


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  • They are all gone away,

    The house is shut and still,

    There is nothing more to say.

    Through broken walls and gray

    The winds blow bleak and shrill:

    They are all gone away.

    - Edwin Arlington Robinson, 'The House On The Hill'.

    November 16, 2008