• WordNet 3.6
    • adj shrill of colors that are bright and gaudy "a shrill turquoise"
    • adj shrill being sharply insistent on being heard "strident demands","shrill criticism"
    • adj shrill having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones "a shrill whistle","a shrill gaiety"
    • v shrill utter a shrill cry
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Shrill A shrill sound.
    • a Shrill Acute; sharp; piercing; having or emitting a sharp, piercing tone or sound; -- said of a sound, or of that which produces a sound. "Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
      To sounds confused."
      "Let winds be shrill , let waves roll high."
    • v. i Shrill To utter an acute, piercing sound; to sound with a sharp, shrill tone; to become shrill. "Break we our pipes, that shrilled loud as lark.""No sounds were heard but of the shrilling cock.""His voice shrilled with passion."
    • v. t Shrill To utter or express in a shrill tone; to cause to make a shrill sound. "How poor Andromache shrills her dolors forth."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • shrill To utter or emit a keen, piercing, high-pitched sound.
    • shrill To sound shrilly; be shrill.
    • shrill To cause to give out a shrill sound.
    • shrill To utter or produce with a shrill sound.
    • shrill Sharp and piercing in sound; high and keen (somewhat disagreeably so) in voice or note: the common use of the word.
    • shrill Emitting or capable of emitting a sharp, high, piercing sound.
    • shrill Piercing; sharp; affecting the senses sharply or keenly; bright.
    • n shrill A keen or piercing sound.
    • shrill In a shrill manner; shrilly.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Shrill shril piercing: sharp: uttering an acute sound
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. schrillen, akin to G. schrillen,; cf. AS. scralletan, to resound loudly, Icel. skrölta, to jolt, Sw. skrälla, to shrill, Norw. skryla, skrla,. Cf. Skirl
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Skeat explains M. E. shril (Scotch skirl) as from Scand., Norw. skryla, skräla, to cry shrilly; cf. Low Ger. schrell.


In literature:

The tread of the hoofs and the shrill neighing still rang in my ears.
"The War Trail" by Mayne Reid
John found himself mightily affected by the singing, and the absence of shrill treble voices.
"The Hill" by Horace Annesley Vachell
There he halted, and, flinging back his tossed mane, uttered a shrill neigh.
"The Scalp Hunters" by Mayne Reid
The little girl did not heed the screams or the shrill scolding, or even the singing of the birds that grew deliciously tender toward nightfall.
"A Little Girl in Old Quebec" by Amanda Millie Douglas
A few swallows still wheeled about the walls, giving shrill little cries.
"One Man's Initiation--1917" by John Dos Passos
At Philip's submission to Pete's will, there was a general chorus of cheers, through which Kate's shrill laughter rang like a scream.
"The Manxman A Novel - 1895" by Hall Caine
He turned to the second, and instantly emitted a shrill whistle of delight.
"The Young Railroaders" by Francis Lovell Coombs
The high, shrill sound was piercing.
"The Tale of Chirpy Cricket" by Arthur Scott Bailey
I stood, not daring to move, while Nokomee shouted a string of shrill alien syllables at him.
"Valley of the Croen" by Lee Tarbell
Men and women were hurrying to and fro, and the women's shrill cries mingled with the men's shouts.
"A Son of Hagar" by Sir Hall Caine

In poetry:

Dawn glimmers white beyond the burning hill
Where sunbeams light a fire in every tree.
The morning bird is singing clear and shrill;
And oh, my love! when will you come to me?
"When The Thorn Blows" by Mary Webb
So; I have tuned my music to the trees,
And there were voices, dim below
Their shrillness, voices swelling slow
In the blue murmur of hills, and a golden cry
And then vast silences.
"Song of Poplars" by Aldous Huxley
"Here seem'd the Singer touch'd at what he sung,
"And Grief a while delay'd his Hand and Tongue:
"But soon he check'd his Fingers, chose a Strain,
"And flourish'd shrill, and thus arose again.
"An Essay On The Different Stiles Of Poetry" by Thomas Parnell
"Hark! from the sacred oak, that crowns the groves,
What awful voice my raptured bosom warms!
This is the favour'd moment Heaven approves,
Sound the shrill trump; this instant sound, to arms."
"Elegy XXI. Taking a View of the Country From His Retirement" by William Shenstone
All day the blackbird has sung with the thrush
And the nightingale, though we heard him not clear,
And others chirped and murmured from bush to bush,
Loud, soft, shrill, uncertain, far and near.
"The Nightjars" by Edward Shanks
Feelinge forthewithe the other's burninge powre,
Wood withe the smarte, with shoutes and shreakinge shrill,
He soughte his ease in river, feilde and bowre,
But for the tyme his griefe wente with him still.
"The Shepherd's Conceit of Prometheus" by Edward Dyer

In news:

The Shrills sound nothing like an African-American girl group from the '60s.
A piercing whistle blows, so shrill that it assaults the very air.
The religious left's political operatives have mounted a shrill attack on a significant portion of the Christian community.
In fact, I remember both men and women take issue with Hillary Clinton being referred to as a "shrill".
Her tone was shrill and strident.
Kenny Geidel, the well-known, shrill -voiced vendor at Pittsburgh sporting events for three decades, died Monday, the Pirates confirmed this afternoon.
Upon Its Initial Release The New York Times Called It ' Shrill and Clumsy'.
Kenny Geidel, the well-known, shrill-voiced vendor at Pittsburgh sporting events for three decades, died Monday, the Pirates confirmed this afternoon.
Back to The HooK front page LETTER- Schilling is shrilling .
Her tone was shrill and strident .
In the shrill final days of a close and hard-fought campaign, it's easy to get.
"Ertra, Ertra, Ertra" And The Problems With Patriotism Performed At A Shrill, Unpleasant Register.
Her barks are shrill and can be annoying.
Judging from the rabid, shrill, apocalyptic mouth foam seeping through my email filters, some of us (most of us, the numbers say) need to be rudely slapped out of our delusion that this is America in 2012.
Smoke filled the kitchen at 2270 Yankton Place and the alarms were shrilling.

In science:

The whistle register is so called because the shrill timber of the notes that are produced from this register are similar to that of a whistle or the upper notes of a flute.
Music in Terms of Science