Definition of shrill in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃrɪl/


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]
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]: ‘How dare you!’ she shrilled


[in singular]
A shrill sound or cry: the shrill of a smoke detector filled the air
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.



Pronunciation: /ˈʃrɪlnəs/
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: /ˈʃrɪlli/
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'.

Words that rhyme with shrill

bill, Brazil, brill, Camille, chill, cookchill, dill, distil (US distill), downhill, drill, Edgehill, Estoril, fill, freewill, frill, fulfil (US fulfill), Gill, goodwill, grill, grille, hill, ill, instil, kill, krill, mil, mill, nil, Phil, pill, quadrille, quill, rill, Seville, shill, sill, skill, spadille, spill, squill, still, stock-still, swill, thill, thrill, till, trill, twill, until, uphill, will

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