1. first-rate, splendid, amazing.
|‘Letter of R.H.B’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1847) 156: Post going off, God bless you, all well, and in screaming spirits.|
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|Orpheus C. Kerr I 78: You play a screaming hand, my son / And push an ugly cue.|
|Wild Boys of London I 350/2: To have a girl all of his own, as he said, was a ‘screaming lark’.|
|Wagga Wagga Advertiser 23 Oct. 4/2: That’s just the bare outline of the plot, but we can work it into something screaming, you and I.|
|Cloven Foot I 125: ‘Well,’ cried the manager, radiant, ‘a screaming success.’.|
|Hull Packet 25 June 2/6: Bud attempted to become what was called in society a screaming success.|
|Aus. Sl. Dict. 70: Screaming, first-rate;‘a screaming farce,’ one that make the audience scream with laughter.|
|World (N.Y.) 3 May 4M: Now, ‘Tin Pan Alley’ is considered a term of reproach by the Tin Pan Alleyites. They prefer to designate it as ‘Melody Lane.’ But that is a poetic fancy that those who go down that way to hear the ‘new, big, screaming hits’ do not indulge in.|
|Truth (London) 18 June 1678/3: Slang terms: [...] screaming, serene, ship-shape, slap-up, slick. splendiferous, stayer, stilton, stunning, swell [etc] .|
|Secret of Chimneys (1956) 220: How perfectly screaming! And I have married you! What are we going to do about it?|
|‘From the Diary of a New York Lady’ in Parker (1943) 136: We both fell asleep in the car – too screaming.|
|Stage (London) 15 Feb. 5/4: Adam Faith is a screaming sucess.|
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
2. very funny.
|Twice Round the Clock 241: That ‘stunning’ and ‘screaming’ new farce.|
|‘New Church’ Times 8 May (2006) 61: ‘Over the Top’. A Screaming Farce.|
|Big Town 199: He must say the screamingest things!|
|Innocence Abroad 135: The samples he gives of the letters are screaming!|
|Chips 12 Sept. 1: How about that screaming story of a chicken crossing the cross-roads, sir?|
3. a general intensifier, utter, extreme.
|Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 438: If ever I saw a screaming storm brewing, there it comes.|
|‘’Arry at the Sea-Side’ Punch 10 Sept. 111/1: I’m to stay in the doldrums at ’ome! It’s too much of a screamin’ old lark.|
|Fast One (1936) 200: You started having the screaming heebies and the Doc gave you a shot.|
|‘Imaginary Diseases’ in AS XXII:4 Apr. 305/1: screaming shits (the). An imaginary disease in which death is accompanied by horrible pain. It is commonly found in expressions such as: ‘I’d rather die with the screaming shits.’.|
|(con. 1943–5) To Hell and Back (1950) 71: I’ve got the blue, screaming willies.|
|Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: What do you want? A screaming miracle?|
|Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 31: What I put up with for six months [...] was enough to send a man fair round the screamin’, meth-drinkin’ bend.|
|Jubb (1966) 26: Screaming Jesus, you’ve only got to look at her and she’s on her back.|
|No Bugles, No Drums 11: The screaming hungries hit us about an hour after we’d smoked.|
|Paco’s Story (1987) 161: Only a total screaming asshole waits for a slowpoke.|
|Guardian Media 18 Oct. 7: Nor is she [...] the ‘screaming right-winger’ she fears she comes across.|
|Turning (2005) 137: Men who cried gave her the screaming creeps.|
4. (US) of clothing or colours, loud, bright, garish.
|New York Day by Day 31 May [synd. col.] Screaming vests appeared to be the most dominating factor of male attire.|
|Daily Tel. 20 Feb. 17/1: Spring colours are bright pink and screaming green with khaki chino skirts for women and khaki chino trousers for men.|
5. blatantly homosexual; usu. as screaming queen
|Homosexuality & Citizenship in Florida 26: Glossary of Homosexual Terms [...] screaming bitchor flaming bitch: An exhibitionist who outwardly proclaims his homosexuality and his homosexual inclinations.|
|Queens’ Vernacular 74: stereotype effeminate homosexual [...] screaming-bitch [...] -mimi.|
|(con. WWII) Jack and Jamie Go to War 100: I could see the screaming pansies all around, hear the insulting remarks.|
|in Walking After Midnight (1989) 169: She has the preconceived notion about limp wrists and screaming Nellies.|
|Vatican Bloodbath 146: The screaming mincer lept on her back and started flailing away at her head with his puny little fists.|
As a general intensifier
see under abdabs n.
see under meemies n.
an ostentatiously effeminate homosexual man.
|(ref. to late 19C) Amer. Madam (1981) 236: Screaming faggots in silks and satins, high heels and high colour.|
|letter 4 Feb. in Charters II (1999) 112: They went on a week jaunt to London I hear to see the angry young men who I imagine are a bunch of screaming fairies from the sound of it.|
|Lavender Lex. n.p.: screaming faggot:– See Faggot.|
|Essential Lenny Bruce 214: Out-and-out screaming queens — mothers are never hip.|
|Hot to Trot 171: If you don’t straighten up [...] you’re going to have a screaming faggot for a son.|
|Maledicta III:2 235: Some outrageous types are deliberately screamy (or screaming) queens.|
|Breaking the Silence 14: I thought it would be a crowd of screaming fairies.|
|Indep. 19 July 9: The kylie minogue-obsessed screaming queen.|
|Observer Rev. 28 May 16: Liberace’s legacy has been to make it all right to be a screaming queen onstage.|
|Gayle 93/2: screaming queen n. 1. an obvious homosexual 2. gay man who speaks loudly in public places in an affected, camp manner, usually for the purpose of drawing attention to himself.|
(US campus) an extremely messy or ugly look.
|Campus Sl. Oct. 5: screamin’ uglies – looking extremely disheveled, unkempt: After studying all night, she’s got the screaming uglies.|
see under blue murder n.
a general excl.
|Vietnam Letters (2003) 21 June 156: There is something wrong with the water and it’s just killing everyone. Screaming yellow zonkers!|
SE in slang uses
(US) a GI discharge button, issued after WWII.
|[||Forward, March 20: Have you enlisted under the banner of the screaming eagle?].|
|Newsweek 18 Mar. 34/1: ‘Ruptured duck’: GI for the discharge button which ex-service men wear in their lapels, also, ‘homecoming pigeon’ and ‘screaming eagle’ .|
(US black) a police car moving at speed and sounding its siren.
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|