shrill

[shril]
adjective, shriller, shrillest.
1.
high-pitched and piercing in sound quality: a shrill cry.
2.
producing such a sound.
3.
full of or characterized by such a sound: shrill music.
4.
betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount, as antagonism or defensiveness.
5.
marked by great intensity; keen: the shrill, incandescent light of the exploding bomb.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
6.
to cry shrilly.
noun
7.
a shrill sound.
adverb
8.
in a shrill manner; shrilly.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English shrille (adj., v.); akin to Old English scrallettan to sound loudly; cognate with German schrill (adj.), schrillen (v.); compare Old Norse skrīll rabble

shrillness, noun
shrilly, adverb
outshrill, verb (used with object)
unshrill, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shrill (ʃrɪl)
 
adj
1.  sharp and high-pitched in quality
2.  emitting a sharp high-pitched sound
 
vb
3.  to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
4.  rare (tr) to cause to produce a shrill sound
 
[C14: probably from Old English scralletan; related to German schrill shrill, Dutch schrallen to shriek]
 
'shrillness
 
n
 
'shrilly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

shrill
late 14c., schrylle "high-pitched, piercing" (of the voice), probably related to O.E. scralletan "to sound loudly," of imitative origin (cf. Low Ger. schrell, Ger. schrill "piercing, shrill"). The verb sense of "to sound shrilly" is recorded from c.1300.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In the golden age of sail, a ship's crew was focused on the shrill and piercing
  sound of the boatswain's whistle.
Still, some of the settings sound somewhat shrill out of the box.
To say that the whole deficit thing was a political ploy, with no substance
  behind it, sounded shrill.
But its leaders are increasingly unhappy about the shrill attacks.
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