Definition of shrill in English:

shrill

adjective

  • 1(of a voice or sound) high-pitched and piercing.

    ‘a shrill laugh’
    • ‘A piercing and shrill sound could be heard in the distance.’
    • ‘The phone rings, a shrill echo of sound from kitchen, living room, bedroom.’
    • ‘Amara could hear her voice rising to a shrill whine, as it always did when she was upset.’
    • ‘Julian winced slightly at the sound of the shrill voice echoing down the halls, accompanied by thundering footsteps.’
    • ‘But our face-off was interrupted by the shrill voice of a woman who stepped into the alcove.’
    • ‘The girls on the team have shrill voices and the boys sound like they are 35, made worse by dialogue mixed too loud.’
    • ‘The shrill sound of the tea whistle gives Beth a reason to avoid the question.’
    • ‘When he thought something ironic, he would let out a high-pitched shrill laugh that sounded like a hyena.’
    • ‘On the grassy knoll beside the silvery Elephant Falls, a shrill cacophony of female voices compete with the roar of the cataract.’
    • ‘Kara screeched in a shrill voice while Alex yanked his shorts back on with a bit of difficulty.’
    • ‘The cave echoed and re-echoed with the sounds of shrill squeals and flapping wings.’
    • ‘For the last track on the album, he used 22 violins - no violas or cellos, so you get a very shrill sound.’
    • ‘In a statement read in court, Joan Turner said he used to let out a low whimpering sound and an occasional high-pitched shrill noise which could keep his mother awake.’
    • ‘A shrill beep sounded in the room and I unceremoniously erupted from the bed.’
    • ‘The first time it had happened, Peter was sound asleep until the shrill sound of shrieking woke him up with a start.’
    • ‘Incidentally not once during the five days did the shrill sound of a whistle disturb concentration.’
    • ‘The shrill voice echoed in the earpiece and Judith automatically tilted the phone away from her ear.’
    • ‘The man lifted a whistle that hung around his neck and blew into it, causing a sharp, shrill sound to be emitted.’
    • ‘Now, in August, the shrill sound of grasshoppers rang out across the undulating flatland beyond Sand Creek.’
    • ‘The shrill sound of Iris's voice (as well as her sharp knocking on the door) immediately changes the mood in the room.’
    high-pitched, piercing, high, sharp, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, air-rending, penetrating, shattering, strident, loud, strong, intrusive, screeching, shrieking, screechy, squawky
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    1. 1.1derogatory (especially of a complaint or demand) loud and forceful.
      ‘a concession to their shrill demands’
      • ‘So far, his shrill denunciations look pretty poor indeed when compared to the output of other people in the Party.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, much of this criticism has been shrill.’
      • ‘The very notion is ‘insidious, unworthy, diabolical, appalling, shrill and hysterical’.’
      • ‘The parade went on, despite shrill objections from the Vatican and other religious groups.’
      • ‘Don't be too harsh, too shrill in attacking the President.’
      • ‘You don't see him walking around making shrill announcements and talking garbage.’
      • ‘Bombay society is small, shrill and energetic.’
      • ‘The delegation today is little more than a shrill chorus of the administration's critics.’
      • ‘Another is that, while there has always been a puritanical, judgmental side to Musar, this voice has grown louder and more shrill in recent times.’
      • ‘Criticism reached shrill heights during the lead-up to the war against the dictator.’
      • ‘His calamitous ignorance of his system's failure, plus his reluctance to acknowledge it once was drawn to his attention, drew shrill demands for his dismissal.’
      • ‘It is too prosecutorial in tone, too shrill in its historical judgments.’
      • ‘The only thing the Left offered was shrill ideology.’
      • ‘His left-leaning editorial cartoons were, by his own admission, shrill and unconvincing.’
      • ‘While the semaphore continues with increasingly shrill demands of ‘do deal now!’’
      • ‘The real show of class warfare is the threatened curtailment of charitable status for private schools and the shrill demand that universities take more state-school pupils.’
      • ‘And what I found was that the people who were criticizing him were being just as shrill and obnoxious as he was being onstage at the Oscars.’
      • ‘It's a tragic tale but never shrill or sentimental in the telling.’
      • ‘Yet the shrill protests from Smith's critics revealed less about Smith's work than about their own false and constructed assumptions.’
      • ‘I suspect they will be even more shrill and irrational while questioning Miers.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Make a shrill noise.

    ‘a piercing whistle shrilled through the night air’
    • ‘By the time the final whistle shrilled through Dr Cullen an exhibition of scoring had been given by the Kildavin-Clonegal team.’
    • ‘The pipe music shrilled suddenly around her, seeming to come from the bushes at her very feet, and at the same moment the great beast slewed round and bore directly down upon her.’
    • ‘Once they and the others have paid a tiny tribute to a few families that keep the market area clean, a whistle shrills and the bartering begins.’
    • ‘Everyone in the doctor's family is getting ready for a social event, when the telephone shrills urgently.’
    • ‘The phone shrilled twice before being answered.’
    • ‘When the phone shrilled on his desk, the tone of the woman on the other end was not a happy one.’
    • ‘Frogs croaked in the ditches; cicadas shrilled in the fields.’
    • ‘The telephone shrilled to life, and Devan immediately walked over to answer it.’
    • ‘His cell phone shrilled, breaking his thoughts.’
    • ‘Something was shrilling - quite loudly, mind you - directly beside her left ear.’
    • ‘As she had feared, the bell shrilled while she was still a dozen steps from the classroom door.’
    • ‘Galahs and lorikeets are shrilling and squawking over their territory in the old Norfolk Island pines and everyone is glad that night, finally, has rescued us from the sun's brutal strength.’
    • ‘I awoke to find my phone shrilling loudly, as if threatening to fall off its hook any time.’
    • ‘The whistle shrilled and he moved the kettle to a hot pad on the counter for a moment.’
    • ‘Just when they had arrived in front of Roy's apartment, Michael's cell phone shrilled.’
    • ‘Four hours later my alarm shrilled, and Bob arrived a half hour after that.’
    • ‘I woke to hear my alarm clock shrilling at me and after shutting it off I went to have a shower and put some make up on.’
    • ‘The next day, just one minute before our alarm clock rings for gym time, my phone took a head start and shrilled loudly.’
    • ‘What will be going on behind the sideline masks they will wear for most of the time tomorrow when the whistle shrills the start of the Allianz Hurling League final?’
    • ‘Rolan looked away into the distance of grey as a sea gull shrilled into the sky.’
    1. 1.1 Speak or cry with a shrill voice.
      [with direct speech] ‘“For God's sake!” shrilled Jan’

noun

  • [in singular] A shrill sound or cry.

    ‘the shrill of a smoke detector filled the air’
    • ‘She yells, but her voice takes on a slight shrill.’
    • ‘The sudden shrill of the cell phone interrupted them.’
    • ‘Their shrill of their young voices could be heard as they broke the silence of the day in the joy of their play.’
    • ‘Asha had almost reached the mansion when she heard the screeching sound, sounding like a death shrill to her ears.’
    • ‘They were only to be halted by the shrill of the whistle.’
    • ‘She heard a shrill of laughter that sounded as if it would have split a storm into two halves.’
    • ‘The hours dragged on until the school bell rang, its loud shrill signalling the end of the school day.’
    • ‘The shrill of a cell phone disrupted the conversation.’
    • ‘Wake-up time was still several weeks away, so their stiff limbs didn't stir an inch, even with the shrill of our train whistle.’
    • ‘Tyler was lost for words, wondering about his reward when he heard a great shrill of excitement from the cash register.’
    • ‘The high shrill of the bell notified the students that the class was over.’
    • ‘There was a full minute of silence after the shrill of his initial response had faded away.’
    • ‘I heard a mighty shrill as I stepped into the room.’
    • ‘Michael's voice rang through the room with an ear-splitting shrill.’
    • ‘My thoughts got interrupted by the shrill of the bell.’
    • ‘But for the endless shrill of crickets and the loud whistle of a bird, the silence of the forest was enchanting and complete.’
    • ‘The shrill of the phone interrupts my melancholy.’
    • ‘Their voices raised to the sharp shrill of a four-year-old just told to eat her vegetables.’
    • ‘She woke the next morning to the shrill of the telephone ringing.’
    • ‘The Urlaur fans sensed a comeback and this was confirmed just before the shrill of the half-time whistle when Barry Nolan hit a curling shot into the bottom corner.’
    screech, scream, shriek, squawk, howl, cry, wail, squall, yawp, yelp, shrill
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Origin

Late Middle English: of Germanic origin; related to Low German schrell sharp in tone or taste.

Pronunciation

shrill

/SHril/