1. A high-pitched, strident cry.
2. A sound suggestive of this cry: the screech of train brakes.
v. screeched, screech·ing, screech·es
To utter in a screech or high-pitched voice.
1. To cry out in a high-pitched, strident voice.
2. To make a sound suggestive of a screech: Tires screeched on the wet pavement.
[Alteration of obsolete scrich, from Middle English scrichen, to screech, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skrækja.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.