Definition of squeak in US English:



  • 1A short, high-pitched sound or cry.

    ‘the door opened with a slight squeak’
    • ‘Government eavesdroppers at Yorkshire's own GCHQ listening station were baffled when they began picking up high-pitched squeaks from the base's forest of aerial masts.’
    • ‘There was a high-pitched squeak and one of the pipes broke away from the wall, and Armstrong smelled ozone.’
    • ‘It was a most undignified noise that sounded like a squeak to her ears.’
    • ‘The second best basketball sound is the squeak of new shoes on a basketball floor.’
    • ‘‘I wasn't aware dinner had been served,’ I replied my voice sounding like a squeak when it came out.’
    • ‘Cleo managed a forced laugh, though it sounded more like a squeak.’
    • ‘Almost as soon as we dropped into the water we were deafened by a series of high-pitched clicks and squeaks and whistles, and about 20 dolphins turned up.’
    • ‘The blind man began singing and talking as we passed by, the two sounds rolling together into squeaks, grunts, and held notes.’
    • ‘A squeak sounded from the other room and moments later a middle-aged woman rolled out in a wheelchair.’
    • ‘I've listened closely to the sweaty badminton and discovered there is no sound apart from the squeak of tennis shoes on plastic flooring.’
    • ‘The unmistakable sound of a mouse squeak caused her to jump and trip over the darkness in trying to find the stairs.’
    • ‘My traitorous voice seemed to speak out of its own volition… and in a high-pitched squeak too.’
    • ‘Mice communicate with one another a great deal with ultrasonic sounds, and their squeaks can convey a lot of information.’
    • ‘We made our way through the cool, atmospheric turns of the colleges, the worn wood and gray stones reflecting the piping of voices and squeaks of rusty bicycles.’
    • ‘I tried to sound like it was just casual conversation but I knew there was a slight squeak in my voice that my mom had to have caught with her natural mother instincts.’
    • ‘It made short purring sounds, mixed with squeaks, then it vanished.’
    • ‘Grover Norquist, on the other hand, speaks like a man who had all the delight squeezed out of him years ago, leaving him with nothing in his voice but a high-pitched squeak of disdain.’
    • ‘Saphrin looked up at the sound of the squeak in the door.’
    • ‘He caught a slight squeak of surprise from the first speaker as his three stalkers gave chase.’
    • ‘Echolocation works like this: bats send out a series of high-pitched squeaks and then listen for its return.’
    1. 1.1with negative A single remark, statement, or communication.
      ‘I didn't hear a squeak from him for months’
      • ‘Anyway - I haven't heard a squeak from Father since sending him the letter nearly a fortnight ago.’
      • ‘I mean to say, a sick half-sister that no one had heard a squeak out of for years?’
      • ‘Still, even while driving in and out of Irish potholes, you'll hear no squeak or feel no squirm from the structure or fittings.’
      • ‘Rupert Murdoch didn't exactly invent the ploy, whatever squeaks the modern Telegraph may emit in that direction.’
      • ‘Now, we have been blessed with a good summer and very few people are saying squeak.’
      • ‘The ranks will close even tighter and, despite the forensic criticisms, you won't hear a squeak in the party room.’
      • ‘And have we heard a squeak from the director with the verbal incontinence?’
      • ‘Hatchback it may be, but we never detected a single squeak, rattle or any sign of flexing.’
      • ‘When we have been forced to reduce services we never heard a squeak of protest from Clare.’


[no object]
  • 1Make a high-pitched sound or cry.

    ‘he oiled the hinges to stop them from squeaking’
    • ‘He laughs recalling one stressful day when he ended up smoking in the back garden and heard the bathroom window squeaking open.’
    • ‘The floors had stopped squeaking, and there was the sound of someone walking on the boards that didn't squeak.’
    • ‘Selena crouched next to him, her boots squeaking gently, the sound magnifying itself in his ears, echoing off each wall several times.’
    • ‘The garden gate clicked, squeaked, and clicked again as it shut.’
    • ‘It was the last place you would expect your dreams to come squeaking to a stop.’
    • ‘Just then, the sound of keys and the front door squeaking open met our ears.’
    • ‘‘I'm a hustler, I'm a tiger,’ he squeaks, sounding nothing like a hustler or a tiger and everything like Joe Pasquale.’
    • ‘The maintenance piggy bank got busted when the fuel pump squeaked to a full stop a couple of months back.’
    • ‘I walked through the wrought iron gates, the hinges squeaking.’
    • ‘I heard about three cabinets squeak open and I got annoyed.’
    • ‘It rises up to the narrow tidemark and with a swift flick of his wrists, it squeaks to a stop.’
    • ‘He sped off the freeway and through the neighborhood, then squeaked to a stop underneath the branches of the large tree in their front lawn.’
    • ‘She squeaked with gratitude, sounding oddly like the manager attempting a girlish treble.’
    • ‘The drawers were hard to open and the bed squeaked.’
    • ‘There's no point sitting like a hedgehog squeaking in front of an enormous steamroller.’
    • ‘They are very peculiar and often roll around making odd squeaking and squawking sounds.’
    • ‘At the sound of the door squeaking slowly open, both of us rose and turned to face it.’
    • ‘And indeed, the sound of skin squeaking against glass distracted Mark from his melancholy for a moment.’
    • ‘A second set of double doors leading into the gym stood open, and Christy heard the sounds of sneakers squeaking on the floor and voices talking and laughing.’
    • ‘The tires that roll the bus down the road each day squeaked as they stopped in front of her.’
    peep, cheep, pipe, squeal, tweet, yelp, whimper
    screech, creak, scrape, grate, rasp, jar, groan
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with direct speech Say something in a nervous or excited high-pitched tone.
      ‘“You're scaring me,” she squeaked’
      • ‘When the others caught up with me, I was bouncing up and down and squeaking with excitement.’
      • ‘I tend to get extremely nervous when speaking in public, so it will be a rare opportunity to see me sweat, shake, dribble incoherently and squeak a lot.’
      • ‘Time was running short, but by striding my legs out as far as I could, I succeeded in saving at least minimal time, in addition to clearing small squeaking children from my way.’
      • ‘Andy squeaked, suddenly looking very nervous.’
      • ‘His mother squeaked with excitement as she glanced back to look at her son.’
      • ‘She squeaked in triumph, excited that she might have finally found a way out of this mess.’
      • ‘She squeaked, her voice breaking from her nervousness.’
      • ‘Aidan squeaked, with an added stutter because he was suddenly nervous.’
      • ‘It was squeaking nervously and trying to claw its way out.’
      • ‘An excited voice squeaked from the other end of the phone.’
      • ‘Ty squeaked again, this time out of a childlike excitement and pushed Bryan down before she landed a blow across his chest and stomach.’
      • ‘At the sound of his name, he squeaked excitedly and flew to Ruby…’
      • ‘Quick and mischievous Halflings squeaked happily at the excitement surrounding them.’
      • ‘The first time I got the nerve to call a guy, when he picked up I was so nervous that I squeaked into the phone.’
      • ‘Fledgling gossip columnist Louella Parsons is there, played by Jennifer Tilly, squeaking and squawking her callow excitement at meeting so many A-list players.’
      • ‘Yap dashed in circles around the clearing, squeaking excitedly, although this was normal Yap behavior.’
      • ‘Chelsea squeaked excitedly, ‘but anyhow, he asked me out like oh my god!’’
      • ‘Queen Rose squeaked with excitement as she saw the small baby asleep in his crib.’
      • ‘The arm zipped out, pointing at Sam, and positively quivered as he leaned toward it, squeaking an alarm.’
      • ‘I squeaked, my voice a tone higher than it should have been.’
    2. 1.2informal Inform on someone.
      denounce, give away, betray, incriminate, inculpate, report, tell the authorities about, tell the police about
      View synonyms
  • 2informal with adverbial Succeed in achieving something by a very narrow margin.

    ‘the bill squeaked through with just six votes to spare’
    • ‘Although Thomas squeaked through by a narrow margin in the Senate, several notable Republicans broke party ranks to vote against his nomination.’
    • ‘In fact, they'll be lucky if they can squeak themselves into the play-offs.’
    • ‘Trucks also can't slow down as quickly as a car so think about that the next time you squeak in front of one and slam on the brakes.’
    • ‘He is a brilliant if repulsive campaigner who's always squeaked through by making the other guy the issue.’
    • ‘We just squeaked into the play-offs, but I was excited about being a part of it all.’
    1. 2.1squeak by Make or have just enough money for basic necessities.
      ‘she was squeaking by on her minimum-wage job’
      • ‘I guess he'll somehow have to squeak by on around 5K / month.’
      • ‘I was trying to squeak by on any money that I could bring in.’
      • ‘Six years ago, Hernandez was just squeaking by in Southern California, trying to support his family on a cook's paycheck.’
      • ‘With a week left before the end of the month, I don't think I'm gonna be able to squeak by this time.’
      • ‘Well, everything is worth more than a year of my salary, cause somehow I'm squeaking by on like $12,000 a year right now - in cash, but still.’


Late Middle English (as a verb): imitative; compare with Swedish skväka ‘croak’, also with squeal and shriek. The noun dates from the early 17th century.