AskDefine | Define scream

Dictionary Definition



1 sharp piercing cry; "her screaming attracted the neighbors" [syn: screaming, shriek, shrieking, screech, screeching]
2 a high-pitched noise resembling a human cry; "he ducked at the screechings of shells"; "he heard the scream of the brakes" [syn: screech, screeching, shriek, shrieking, screaming]
3 a joke that seems extremely funny [syn: belly laugh, sidesplitter, howler, thigh-slapper, wow, riot]


1 utter a sudden loud cry; "she cried with pain when the doctor inserted the needle"; "I yelled to her from the window but she couldn't hear me" [syn: shout, shout out, cry, call, yell, holler, hollo, squall]
2 utter or declare in a very loud voice; "You don't have to yell--I can hear you just fine" [syn: yell]
3 make a loud, piercing sound; "Fighter planes are screaming through the skies"

User Contributed Dictionary




shreamen (cf Old Norwegian skræma)


  1. A loud, emphatic, exclamation of extreme emotion, usually horror, fear, excitement et cetera. Can be the exclamation of a word, but is usually a sustained, high-pitched vowel sound, particularly /æ/ or /i/, in any case, the loudest and most emphatic sound a human can make tends to be a scream. The term is not generally applied to sounds made by non-humans.
  2. A form of singing associated with the metal and screamo styles of music. It is a loud, rough, distorted version of the voice; rather than the normal voice of the singer.


loud exclamation


  1. To make the sound of a scream.
  2. To move quickly; to race.
    ''He almost hit a pole, the way he came screaming down the hill.


to make the sound of a scream

See also

Extensive Definition

A scream, shout, holler, or yell is a loud human audio vocalization where the person makes a loud cry by expelling air from their lungs.


These exclamations may be motivated by extreme emotion such as horror, excitement, or pain.


When human beings are taken over by extreme fear they may scream for various and sometimes intermingled reasons. These reasons include scaring away an attacker, calling attention to themselves for help. Screaming as a result of fear from a practical joke may be cause for embarrassment.


When people are overcome by joy such at an encounter with someone which they long to encounter such as their romantic interest or family member or friend who has been away they may exclaim with a scream their excitement for this occasion. People often scream out of joy when something happy has happened to them, like winning a prize. This is usually because of surprise or intense emotion.


When people suffer from injuries which are very painful such as broken bones or gun shot wounds, they often scream in pain or surprise. This may be a vocalization used to deal with the shock of the incident or perhaps an evolutionary adaptation used to warn others of danger.



Some people, when arguing begin to raise their voices to the point that they are screaming at each other in anger while continuing their debate exchange. Terminology includes "shouting match".


Drill instructors frequently use this tactic and its associated fear and intimidation to train recruits whilst fostering obedience and expedience.


The decibel levels of screams may be very high, and this has become an issue in the sport of tennis, particularly with regards to Maria Sharapova's loud tennis grunts which have been measured as high as 101.2 decibels. The human range for screaming in decibels is between 0 and 112.8 which is the world record held by Alan Myatt.The pitch varies depending on the justification for a scream.

Popular Culture

The Wilhelm scream is film's most familiar scream and has been edited into many movies since 1951.
scream in French: Crier
scream in Portuguese: Grito

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bark, battle cry, bawl, bay, bell, bellow, belly laugh, blare, blat, blate, bleat, blubber, blue story, boom, bray, breathe, buzz, cackle, call, card, caterwaul, chant, cheer, chirp, complain, coo, creak, crow, cry, cry out, dirty joke, dirty story, dolorous tirade, double entendre, drawl, ethnic joke, exclaim, flute, fun, funny story, gag, gasp, give tongue, give voice, good one, good story, groan, growl, grumble, grunt, guffaw, hail, halloo, hiss, holler, hollo, hoot, howl, howler, hurrah, jape, jeremiad, jest, jestbook, joke, keen, lament, laugh, lilt, low, make an outcry, meow, mew, mewl, miaow, moan, moo, mumble, murmur, mutter, neigh, nicker, outcry, panic, pant, pipe, plaint, planctus, play, point, protest, pule, rallying cry, rib tickler, riot, roar, rumble, screak, screech, shout, shriek, shrill, sibilate, sick joke, sidesplitter, sigh, sight gag, sing, skirl, skreigh, snap, snarl, snort, sob, sough, sport, squall, squawk, squeak, squeal, story, thunder, tirade, troat, trumpet, twang, ululate, ululation, visual joke, wail, wail of woe, war cry, war whoop, warble, wheeze, whicker, whimper, whine, whinny, whisper, whistle, whoop, wow, wrawl, yammer, yap, yarn, yawl, yawp, yell, yelp, yip, yo-ho, yowl
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