Definition of scream in English:



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

    ‘they could hear him screaming in pain’
    ‘a houseful of barking dogs and screaming children’
    • ‘She screamed into her pillow, releasing her frustration into the creamy white sheet.’
    • ‘The victim's older brother recalled seeing his brother in the garden seconds before he heard him screaming in pain.’
    • ‘Her hands were shaking, her body trembling but her voice screamed forcefully into the phone.’
    • ‘She threw her arms around Noah, still jumping and screaming with joy.’
    • ‘He screams in pain when he learns that his wife has been killed in the explosion.’
    • ‘They took Lydia and me back to the house, with Lydia screaming the entire time.’
    • ‘I was practically screaming at the top of my lungs by the end.’
    • ‘Suddenly, he heard voices screaming in terror, horrible shrieks emitting from the front grounds.’
    • ‘I screamed when the pain began then bit my bottom lip refusing to scream again.’
    • ‘It's very unpleasant for a reasonably proud person such as myself to be in a position where I'm screaming with pain.’
    • ‘He screamed loudly in agony and flew bolt upright, clutching his arm and cursing.’
    • ‘Eva screamed with delight, hugging her sister tightly when she opened the door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I then threw the sheet aside and ran screaming from his house.’
    • ‘I went outside and phoned all our friends and family, and came back to the ward to hear your mother screaming with pain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, security forces dragged screaming residents out of homes, and settlers elsewhere burned houses and fields in protest.’
    • ‘But before they could make any other moves, someone screamed at the top of their lungs.’
    • ‘Rachel screamed out in pain as tears began rolling down her cheeks.’
    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 into the phone’
      • ‘For a moment it sounded like a woman screaming for help.’
      • ‘With the crowd screaming our last name like there was no tomorrow, a mother was proud.’
      • ‘Her mother was screaming filthy obscenities and it was wrong of her to do that.’
      • ‘He told me that it finally ended with his ex after she spent six hours screaming abuse in his face in their living room.’
      • ‘A neighbour heard the women screaming for help, pleading with her son to stop.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are the odd occasions where they shout and scream abuse and are taken off to Westlea Police Station.’
      • ‘Blaze ran into the house, screaming something about telling Auri, while Ariella just stood there silently.’
      • ‘Halfway through Smyth is screaming what sounds like ‘Lenny Henry!’’
      • ‘She screamed a high pitch screech and turned to face the voice.’
      • ‘Three people were down the hall, and a girl was screaming for help.’
      • ‘Mila's solace was then disrupted when she heard a group of people from the crowd scream her name.’
      • ‘It was now he started screaming, ‘The house is really on fire. Get anything you can and get out!’’
      • ‘His burning impulse is to exit in sound and fury, screaming outright the profane secrets he merely hinted at in his earlier comments.’
      • ‘A nurse came rushing in, and upon seeing my anger, screamed for a doctor.’
      • ‘He was driven to Harrogate police station screaming abuse throughout the journey.’
      • ‘He is the perfect example of a teenager that is all but screaming aloud for help.’
      • ‘As I wrestled with her on the pavement she screamed abuse in my face and tried to kick Paul.’
      • ‘All three blogs wrote that Wilson later stormed down Senate halls, screaming obscenities.’
      shriek, screech, yell, howl, shout, bellow, bawl, cry out, call out, yawp, yelp, squeal, wail, squawk, squall, caterwaul, whoop
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘Meanwhile they screamed, ‘Why do French film-makers demand real sex?’’
      • ‘A small child in the back room screams for attention, waking another child in the cradle in the far side of the living room.’
      • ‘The younger of the two finally regained her bearing and stood up, ready to indignantly scream at her sister.’
      • ‘If so, there are three crucial issues that scream for immediate attention and carry the least political risk for him.’
      • ‘I hadn't realized he was screaming at me to move, until he hit me.’
      • ‘My brain was screaming at me to move away as I walked towards the pool.’
      • ‘A thousand questions are screaming for attention at the back of my skull, and it's hard ignoring them all.’
      • ‘The organisation literally yells and screams about how others ‘kill animals’ but this is how they operate?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At some point, though, our inner lives may scream for our attention, and this can come as a complete surprise.’
      • ‘It's his favorite move, and history screams that it'll hurt the campaign if he insists on it.’
      • ‘It's easy to jump up and down and scream about a move like this, but it addresses the symptom, not the underlying question.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whether I disciplined him or ignored him, his actions would cause Kanisha to scream like an air-raid siren.’
      • ‘Then there were the morning newspaper headlines which had screamed of yet another move to entice the Old Firm south.’
      • ‘The press-people are screaming for more information.’
      • ‘‘The last he saw Harry, a fireman was screaming at him to get out,’ said his brother-in-law.’
      • ‘Her naked pain screams from the pages of the book.’
      • ‘One of my earliest childhood memories is of my little sister screaming, ‘Move out of the way, big back!’’
      • ‘Sarah woke to the sound of her mother screaming at her again.’
    3. 1.3Make a loud, high-pitched sound.
      ‘sirens were screaming from all over the city’
      • ‘The drone of aircraft propellers and thump of helicopter rotors made way for screaming auto engines and squealing tyres.’
      • ‘Following a minor road accident, the tourist was rushed by paramedics, all sirens screaming, to a local hospital.’
      • ‘When Hannah opened her eyes, she found herself lying on a stretcher, with sirens screaming loudly in her ears.’
      • ‘Traffic became grid-locked and sirens screamed as fire engines and ambulances tried to negotiate a way through the chaos.’
      • ‘A steady stream of ambulances was coming out of the school drive, all with lights flashing and sirens screaming into the leaden sky.’
      • ‘Ambulance sirens screamed as if enraged at the sight of a Baghdad car bombing.’
      • ‘There are firetrucks and ambulances everywhere, sirens screaming.’
      • ‘To my surprise the ambulance siren screamed to life and the vehicle departed heading east to the highway.’
      • ‘Police cars start arriving at the docks with lights flashing and sirens screaming, as irate ferry workers haul a body out of the water.’
      • ‘A loud piercing alarm began screaming throughout the vast and dark room.’
      • ‘The sirens of an ambulance screamed on the way to the hospital, alerting everyone that a tragedy had occurred.’
      • ‘When the air raid sirens screamed, they left in their apartment building scrambled for the cellar.’
      • ‘As we were leaving the scene, we passed at least four fire trucks heading towards the park, sirens screaming.’
      • ‘I had thought they were so cool wearing those yellow jackets and red hats, riding around on big red trucks with sirens screaming.’
      • ‘Thankfully, the EMS was located just around the corner, their approaching sirens screaming.’
      • ‘The sirens screamed even louder as the ambulance had arrived.’
      • ‘They only stop kissing as their friend pulls them apart due to the police sirens screaming loudly a few streets away.’
      • ‘The loud sirens screamed through the quiet night lighting up everything in its path.’
      • ‘They won't then send an ambulance with sirens screaming and bells ringing and that sort of thing.’
      • ‘The car followed, lights flashing and sirens screaming.’
    4. 1.4Move very rapidly with or as if with a loud, high-pitched sound.
      ‘a shell screamed overhead’
      • ‘Mike hit the siren and they screamed around the corner.’
      • ‘All the while, motorbikes were screaming past us between the two lanes of traffic.’
      • ‘Overhead, salvo after salvo of heavy shells screamed through the sky from Allied warships pounding German positions.’
      • ‘It was a bigger bike, a 125 Yamaha, and it screamed past me in a flash of white and blue two-stroke smoke.’
      • ‘The ambulance screamed past lighting my face in alternate colours as I trudged up William Street.’
      • ‘As the bullets went screaming past the bodies, four drones opened fire on them.’
      • ‘Samuel crossed and Solano's audacious volley screamed just past the post.’
      • ‘Police vessels were still screaming past him, as well as lifters and medi-cars.’
      • ‘There were no bells sounding, no fireworks screaming through the sky, and no audience to clap and cheer us on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His ship was hit and destroyed as a Kratch ship screamed past the squadron.’
      • ‘He cut inside and his left-foot volley from just inside the box screamed past Niemi.’
      • ‘A hand yanked him backwards as a car went screaming past him, the driver angrily blaring his horn at him.’
      • ‘Suddenly he heard the whining sound of the lead balls, like so many hornets screaming past his ears.’


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

    ‘they were awakened by screams for help’
    • ‘She lay there for a moment, until she heard a loud scream from behind her.’
    • ‘Every now and then, screams of delight added to the atmosphere of competition.’
    • ‘The two were just at the edge of the forest when they heard a battle scream from behind them.’
    • ‘The shouting was getting louder by now, the sound of an occasional gunshot audible beneath high pitched screams.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kirby tried to let out a loud scream but the sound never made it out of her mouth.’
    • ‘He blacked out for a few seconds, then came to, to the sound of his own screams.’
    • ‘One of the puppies hopped on Pepe, and the baby let out a scream of either extreme delight or pain.’
    • ‘The sound of their screams and cries echoed out over the river and several people disappeared under the water and never resurfaced.’
    • ‘North Kent police said the three left empty handed after being scared off by the woman's screams for help.’
    • ‘The only out of place sounds were the screams coming from the roller coaster just a lengths away from the hotel.’
    • ‘As the door swung closed, they could hear screams of pain.’
    • ‘The men below came running up on deck at the sound of her scream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She winced every time she heard the loud screams of heart-break and pain that exploded from Mrs. Lane's mouth.’
    • ‘Frightened screams echoed some houses away, probably kids scaring themselves in some Halloween slumber party.’
    • ‘War cries became screams of pain under the deadly rain.’
    • ‘Late at night I heard screams, not of pain, but of sheer agony, coming from the floors below.’
    • ‘Loud cheers and slight screams were heard all around me and I turned to Zach grinning.’
    shriek, screech, yell, howl, shout, bellow, bawl, cry, yawp, yelp, squeal, wail, squawk, squall, caterwaul, whoop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A high-pitched cry made by an animal.
      ‘the screams of the seagulls’
      • ‘A low rumbling and high-pitched scream of an animal came from somewhere out in the fog.’
      • ‘Alain cupped his ears as the creature's high pitched scream shattered every window pane in the room.’
      • ‘He grabbed it around the neck and the animal let out a scream of fear.’
    2. 1.2A loud, piercing sound.
      ‘the scream of a falling bomb’
      • ‘From the hallway, the high-pitched screams of the heart monitor could be clearly heard and it resonated in Lucas' ears.’
      • ‘More than 700 alarms, which emit a high-pitched 130 decibel scream, have been sold in a four-day frenzy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They weren't really alarms; they were more like high-pitched whistles or screams.’
    3. 1.3informal [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
      View synonyms


Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps from Middle Dutch.