Definition of shrill in English:


Syllabification: shrill
Pronunciation: /SHril


  • 1(Of a voice or sound) high-pitched and piercing: a shrill laugh
    More example sentences
    • Julian winced slightly at the sound of the shrill voice echoing down the halls, accompanied by thundering footsteps.
    • 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.
    • When he thought something ironic, he would let out a high-pitched shrill laugh that sounded like a hyena.
  • 1.1 derogatory (Especially of a complaint or demand) loud and forceful: a concession to their shrill demands
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • While the semaphore continues with increasingly shrill demands of ‘do deal now!’


[no object] Back to top  
  • 1Make a shrill noise: a piercing whistle shrilled through the night air
    More example sentences
    • By the time the final whistle shrilled through Dr Cullen an exhibition of scoring had been given by the Kildavin-Clonegal team.
    • The next day, just one minute before our alarm clock rings for gym time, my phone took a head start and shrilled loudly.
    • When the phone shrilled on his desk, the tone of the woman on the other end was not a happy one.
  • 1.1Speak or cry with a shrill voice: [with direct speech]: “For God’s sake!” shrilled Jan


[in singular] Back to top  
  • A shrill sound or cry: the rising shrill of women’s voices
    More example sentences
    • She heard a shrill of laughter that sounded as if it would have split a storm into two halves.
    • Asha had almost reached the mansion when she heard the screeching sound, sounding like a death shrill to her ears.
    • I heard a mighty shrill as I stepped into the room.



More example sentences
  • Ruthless editing would have crafted sharp-edged form out of the three hours of exhausting overabundance, infused subtlety into unrelieved shrillness.
  • This is an increasingly complicated and vital issue, but when handled with such shrillness and heavy-handed irony, the message is soon lost.
  • The shrillness of our ideological debates, the emotional shallowness, the vulgarity of our culture, would have appalled him.


Pronunciation: /ˈSHri(l)lē/
More example sentences
  • Patricia's only skills lie in shrilly harping on about the emotive issues of the day, and dressing up like she should have dressed down.
  • Abu Josef's phone suddenly rang shrilly and Abu Josef ran to pick it up.
  • Screams of agony echoed shrilly above the sounds of battle.


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

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