Definition of scream in English:



  • 1Give a long, loud, piercing cry or cries expressing extreme emotion or pain.

    ‘they could hear him screaming in pain’
    ‘a harassed mum with a screaming child’
    • ‘He screams in pain when he learns that his wife has been killed in the explosion.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, security forces dragged screaming residents out of homes, and settlers elsewhere burned houses and fields in protest.’
    • ‘Her hands were shaking, her body trembling but her voice screamed forcefully into the phone.’
    • ‘It's very unpleasant for a reasonably proud person such as myself to be in a position where I'm screaming with pain.’
    • ‘Suddenly, he heard voices screaming in terror, horrible shrieks emitting from the front grounds.’
    • ‘I went outside and phoned all our friends and family, and came back to the ward to hear your mother screaming with pain.’
    • ‘I screamed when the pain began then bit my bottom lip refusing to scream again.’
    • ‘I then threw the sheet aside and ran screaming from his house.’
    • ‘I was practically screaming at the top of my lungs by the end.’
    • ‘I almost screamed in frustration, was it always about the game with her?’
    • ‘She screamed in horror as she fell, thinking she was soon to die.’
    • ‘Eva screamed with delight, hugging her sister tightly when she opened the door.’
    • ‘She threw her arms around Noah, still jumping and screaming with joy.’
    • ‘By the end of the entire ordeal, my cheeks were tear-stained and my lips raw from biting back the pain rather than screaming out loud again.’
    • ‘The victim's older brother recalled seeing his brother in the garden seconds before he heard him screaming in pain.’
    • ‘Rachel screamed out in pain as tears began rolling down her cheeks.’
    • ‘She screamed into her pillow, releasing her frustration into the creamy white sheet.’
    • ‘They took Lydia and me back to the house, with Lydia screaming the entire time.’
    • ‘But before they could make any other moves, someone screamed at the top of their lungs.’
    • ‘He screamed loudly in agony and flew bolt upright, clutching his arm and cursing.’
    1. 1.1[reporting verb]Cry something in a high-pitched, frenzied way.
      [no object] ‘I ran to the house screaming for help’
      [with direct speech] ‘‘Get out!’ he screamed’
      [with object] ‘he screamed abuse down the phone’
      • ‘Her mother was screaming filthy obscenities and it was wrong of her to do that.’
      • ‘For a moment it sounded like a woman screaming for help.’
      • ‘He told me that it finally ended with his ex after she spent six hours screaming abuse in his face in their living room.’
      • ‘There are the odd occasions where they shout and scream abuse and are taken off to Westlea Police Station.’
      • ‘If most of your weekends are spent watching the footy and screaming instructions and abuse at the players on TV, then why not put your vast football knowledge to better use.’
      • ‘Halfway through Smyth is screaming what sounds like ‘Lenny Henry!’’
      • ‘It was now he started screaming, ‘The house is really on fire. Get anything you can and get out!’’
      • ‘With the crowd screaming our last name like there was no tomorrow, a mother was proud.’
      • ‘A nurse came rushing in, and upon seeing my anger, screamed for a doctor.’
      • ‘A neighbour heard the women screaming for help, pleading with her son to stop.’
      • ‘When a woman saw two men arrive in a car outside a public house, she tried to scream a warning to the man she believed to be their target.’
      • ‘Three people were down the hall, and a girl was screaming for help.’
      • ‘Blaze ran into the house, screaming something about telling Auri, while Ariella just stood there silently.’
      • ‘He is the perfect example of a teenager that is all but screaming aloud for help.’
      • ‘She screamed a high pitch screech and turned to face the voice.’
      • ‘His burning impulse is to exit in sound and fury, screaming outright the profane secrets he merely hinted at in his earlier comments.’
      • ‘He was driven to Harrogate police station screaming abuse throughout the journey.’
      • ‘All three blogs wrote that Wilson later stormed down Senate halls, screaming obscenities.’
      • ‘As I wrestled with her on the pavement she screamed abuse in my face and tried to kick Paul.’
      • ‘Mila's solace was then disrupted when she heard a group of people from the crowd scream her name.’
      shriek, screech, yell, howl, shout, bellow, bawl, cry out, call out, yawp, yelp, squeal, wail, squawk, squall, caterwaul, whoop
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    2. 1.2Urgently and vociferously call attention to one's views or feelings, especially ones of anger or distress.
      [with clause] ‘his supporters scream that he is being done an injustice’
      figurative ‘the creative side of me is screaming out for attention’
      • ‘It's easy to jump up and down and scream about a move like this, but it addresses the symptom, not the underlying question.’
      • ‘Her naked pain screams from the pages of the book.’
      • ‘The ambulance instantly ground to a halt and the driver leaned out of his window and screamed for Patrick to move out of the way.’
      • ‘Whether I disciplined him or ignored him, his actions would cause Kanisha to scream like an air-raid siren.’
      • ‘It's his favorite move, and history screams that it'll hurt the campaign if he insists on it.’
      • ‘One of my earliest childhood memories is of my little sister screaming, ‘Move out of the way, big back!’’
      • ‘I hadn't realized he was screaming at me to move, until he hit me.’
      • ‘At some point, though, our inner lives may scream for our attention, and this can come as a complete surprise.’
      • ‘A small child in the back room screams for attention, waking another child in the cradle in the far side of the living room.’
      • ‘If so, there are three crucial issues that scream for immediate attention and carry the least political risk for him.’
      • ‘Sarah woke to the sound of her mother screaming at her again.’
      • ‘A thousand questions are screaming for attention at the back of my skull, and it's hard ignoring them all.’
      • ‘Your training partner is screaming for you to move the bar an inch, half of an inch - anything to prove you're still alive, but your strength is all gone.’
      • ‘‘The last he saw Harry, a fireman was screaming at him to get out,’ said his brother-in-law.’
      • ‘The press-people are screaming for more information.’
      • ‘Then there were the morning newspaper headlines which had screamed of yet another move to entice the Old Firm south.’
      • ‘The younger of the two finally regained her bearing and stood up, ready to indignantly scream at her sister.’
      • ‘My brain was screaming at me to move away as I walked towards the pool.’
      • ‘Meanwhile they screamed, ‘Why do French film-makers demand real sex?’’
      • ‘The organisation literally yells and screams about how others ‘kill animals’ but this is how they operate?’
  • 2Make a loud, high-pitched sound.

    ‘sirens were screaming from all over the city’
    • ‘They won't then send an ambulance with sirens screaming and bells ringing and that sort of thing.’
    • ‘Ambulance sirens screamed as if enraged at the sight of a Baghdad car bombing.’
    • ‘I had thought they were so cool wearing those yellow jackets and red hats, riding around on big red trucks with sirens screaming.’
    • ‘The drone of aircraft propellers and thump of helicopter rotors made way for screaming auto engines and squealing tyres.’
    • ‘When Hannah opened her eyes, she found herself lying on a stretcher, with sirens screaming loudly in her ears.’
    • ‘A loud piercing alarm began screaming throughout the vast and dark room.’
    • ‘The car followed, lights flashing and sirens screaming.’
    • ‘Thankfully, the EMS was located just around the corner, their approaching sirens screaming.’
    • ‘There are firetrucks and ambulances everywhere, sirens screaming.’
    • ‘When the air raid sirens screamed, they left in their apartment building scrambled for the cellar.’
    • ‘A steady stream of ambulances was coming out of the school drive, all with lights flashing and sirens screaming into the leaden sky.’
    • ‘The sirens of an ambulance screamed on the way to the hospital, alerting everyone that a tragedy had occurred.’
    • ‘As we were leaving the scene, we passed at least four fire trucks heading towards the park, sirens screaming.’
    • ‘Police cars start arriving at the docks with lights flashing and sirens screaming, as irate ferry workers haul a body out of the water.’
    • ‘Following a minor road accident, the tourist was rushed by paramedics, all sirens screaming, to a local hospital.’
    • ‘They only stop kissing as their friend pulls them apart due to the police sirens screaming loudly a few streets away.’
    • ‘To my surprise the ambulance siren screamed to life and the vehicle departed heading east to the highway.’
    • ‘The sirens screamed even louder as the ambulance had arrived.’
    • ‘Traffic became grid-locked and sirens screamed as fire engines and ambulances tried to negotiate a way through the chaos.’
    • ‘The loud sirens screamed through the quiet night lighting up everything in its path.’
    1. 2.1[no object, with adverbial of direction]Move very rapidly with or as if with a loud, high-pitched sound.
      ‘a shell screamed overhead’
      • ‘Overhead, salvo after salvo of heavy shells screamed through the sky from Allied warships pounding German positions.’
      • ‘There were no bells sounding, no fireworks screaming through the sky, and no audience to clap and cheer us on.’
      • ‘The ambulance screamed past lighting my face in alternate colours as I trudged up William Street.’
      • ‘Police vessels were still screaming past him, as well as lifters and medi-cars.’
      • ‘A hand yanked him backwards as a car went screaming past him, the driver angrily blaring his horn at him.’
      • ‘He cut inside and his left-foot volley from just inside the box screamed past Niemi.’
      • ‘Mike hit the siren and they screamed around the corner.’
      • ‘Samuel crossed and Solano's audacious volley screamed just past the post.’
      • ‘It was a bigger bike, a 125 Yamaha, and it screamed past me in a flash of white and blue two-stroke smoke.’
      • ‘He launched himself into a spectacular overhead kick that screamed past Walker into the Walsall net.’
      • ‘Epsom grabbed the winner two minutes from time when a midfield ball dropped to Shoefield, whose shot screamed past Jones into the net.’
      • ‘His ship was hit and destroyed as a Kratch ship screamed past the squadron.’
      • ‘All the while, motorbikes were screaming past us between the two lanes of traffic.’
      • ‘The young Spaniard swung at it and sent the ball screaming past the helpless Gianluigi Buffon and into the left-hand side of the Juve goal.’
      • ‘As the bullets went screaming past the bodies, four drones opened fire on them.’
      • ‘Suddenly he heard the whining sound of the lead balls, like so many hornets screaming past his ears.’
  • 3informal, dated Turn informer.

    ‘he never got paid and my information is he's ready to scream’


  • 1A long, loud, piercing cry expressing extreme emotion or pain.

    ‘they were awakened by screams for help’
    • ‘North Kent police said the three left empty handed after being scared off by the woman's screams for help.’
    • ‘War cries became screams of pain under the deadly rain.’
    • ‘She winced every time she heard the loud screams of heart-break and pain that exploded from Mrs. Lane's mouth.’
    • ‘She closed her eyes and let out her fear in a high-pitched scream.’
    • ‘The girl's terrified screams alerted a shopkeeper and his friend who managed to kick the animals away.’
    • ‘Every now and then, screams of delight added to the atmosphere of competition.’
    • ‘He blacked out for a few seconds, then came to, to the sound of his own screams.’
    • ‘Loud cheers and slight screams were heard all around me and I turned to Zach grinning.’
    • ‘He had been told to ‘mind his own business’ when he complained about the police brutality after having heard the screams of pain from his brother.’
    • ‘The shouting was getting louder by now, the sound of an occasional gunshot audible beneath high pitched screams.’
    • ‘Kirby tried to let out a loud scream but the sound never made it out of her mouth.’
    • ‘She lay there for a moment, until she heard a loud scream from behind her.’
    • ‘Late at night I heard screams, not of pain, but of sheer agony, coming from the floors below.’
    • ‘The men below came running up on deck at the sound of her scream.’
    • ‘As the door swung closed, they could hear screams of pain.’
    • ‘The only out of place sounds were the screams coming from the roller coaster just a lengths away from the hotel.’
    • ‘One of the puppies hopped on Pepe, and the baby let out a scream of either extreme delight or pain.’
    • ‘Frightened screams echoed some houses away, probably kids scaring themselves in some Halloween slumber party.’
    • ‘The sound of their screams and cries echoed out over the river and several people disappeared under the water and never resurfaced.’
    • ‘The two were just at the edge of the forest when they heard a battle scream from behind them.’
    shriek, screech, yell, howl, shout, bellow, bawl, cry, yawp, yelp, squeal, wail, squawk, squall, caterwaul, whoop
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    1. 1.1A high-pitched cry made by an animal.
      ‘the screams of the seagulls’
      • ‘He grabbed it around the neck and the animal let out a scream of fear.’
      • ‘Alain cupped his ears as the creature's high pitched scream shattered every window pane in the room.’
      • ‘A low rumbling and high-pitched scream of an animal came from somewhere out in the fog.’
  • 2A loud, piercing sound.

    ‘the scream of a falling bomb’
    • ‘They weren't really alarms; they were more like high-pitched whistles or screams.’
    • ‘Then the world was reduced to a maddening thrum frequently pierced by the high-pitched scream of generators.’
    • ‘The bell resounded at its high-pitch scream and last-minute stragglers rushed in.’
    • ‘More than 700 alarms, which emit a high-pitched 130 decibel scream, have been sold in a four-day frenzy.’
    • ‘From the hallway, the high-pitched screams of the heart monitor could be clearly heard and it resonated in Lucas' ears.’
  • 3informal [in singular] An irresistibly funny person, thing, or situation.

    ‘the movie's a scream’
    • ‘According to my sources, the movie, titled In The Closet, is a real scream.’
    • ‘Some of the perfunctory descriptions they offer of the movies they sell on DVD are a scream.’
    wit, hoot, comedian, comic, entertainer, joker, clown, buffoon
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Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps from Middle Dutch.