follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

shrill

[shril] /ʃrɪl/
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
1300-1350
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
Related forms
shrillness, noun
shrilly, adverb
outshrill, verb (used with object)
unshrill, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for shrilly
  • And half of them are shrilly argumentative about it.
  • And here is where opposite interests and sympathies frequently clash shrilly.
British Dictionary definitions for shrilly

shrill

/ʃrɪl/
adjective
1.
sharp and high-pitched in quality
2.
emitting a sharp high-pitched sound
verb
3.
to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
4.
(transitive) (rare) to cause to produce a shrill sound
Derived Forms
shrillness, noun
shrilly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: probably from Old English scralletan; related to German schrill shrill, Dutch schrallen to shriek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shrilly
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
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for shrill

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shrilly

13
13
Scrabble Words With Friends