Etymology
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screech (v.)

"cry out with a sharp, shrill voice," 1570s, an alteration of scritch (mid-13c., schrichen), perhaps a general Germanic word (compare Old Frisian skrichta, Muddle Dutch schrien), probably ultimately of imitative origin (compare shriek). Also compare screak, "utter a shrill, harsh cry," c. 1500, from Old Norse skrækja, also probably echoic. Related: Screeched; screeching.

Of wagon-wheels, door-hinges, etc., "make a shrill, grating sound," 1560s. Screech-owl is attested from 1590s (scritch-owl is from 1520s) in reference to the barn-owl; in the U.S. the term is applied to small horned owls. The name is given to owls that "screech" as distinguished from ones that hoot. The cry was regarded as ominous.

screech (n.)

"sharp, shrill cry," 1550s, from screech (v.). Earlier scritch (1510s). In reference to a harsh, squeaking noise made by something, by 1882.

updated on February 28, 2022

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Definitions of screech from WordNet
1
screech (v.)
make a high-pitched, screeching noise;
Synonyms: whine / squeak / creak / screak / skreak
screech (v.)
utter a harsh abrupt scream;
Synonyms: squawk / screak / skreak / skreigh
2
screech (n.)
a high-pitched noise resembling a human cry;
Synonyms: screeching / shriek / shrieking / scream / screaming
screech (n.)
sharp piercing cry;
Synonyms: scream / screaming / shriek / shrieking / screeching
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.