1. in fig. uses, implying something or someone exceptional or egregious.
(a) (orig. US) anything or anyone exceptional, in size, attractiveness, wit etc.
|Drunkard’s Looking Glass (1929) 77: Here I come! a screamer! yes, d——n me, if I an’ta proper screamer; just from Bengal!|
|Westward Ho! I 122: I swear, if he once gets my tail up, he’ll find I’m from the forks of the Roaring River, and a bit of a screamer.|
|Eve. Star (N.Y.) 1 May 2/2: We have just received Fanny Kemble’s Journal the real simon pure, and sure enough it is a ‘screamer’ to judge by a hasty glance.|
|N.Y. Daily Trib. 28 July 2/4: Look out for the New World [a publication] of next Saturday. It will be a screamer!|
|Western Clearings 44: ‘But she’s a screamer of a girl,’ persisted Master George; ‘I’d rather have her than all the rest.’.|
|Fisher’s River 46: I want to talk all night with you on Scripter, I’ve hearn you was a reg’lar built screamer in that way, and I want to try my hand with you.|
|Mr Sprouts, His Opinions 23: ‘Now you’ll see a reg’lar lark,’ ses I [...] ‘a reg’lar screamer.’.|
|Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: Does a gentleman wish to express his admiration for a young lady: she is a ‘stunner,’ an ‘out and outer,’ a ‘screamer’.|
|Americanisms 224: ‘Why, boys,’ said a Georgia Cracker to a colored soldier of the Federal Army, during Sherman’s famous march, ‘if them’s the kind your regimen is made off [sic], I knocks under: them’s screamers.’.|
|‘’Arry on ’Igh Art’ in Punch 1 Feb. 42: That gal in Turk togs is a screamer. Wot eyes! and her figger!|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Oct. 2/2: Our picture posters have ‘roped’ my sympathies once again. This week the attraction is a screamer, representing one of the loveliest daughters of Eve that ever broke the gizzard of a Barwen squatter.|
|‘’Arry at the Sea-Side’ Punch 10 Sept. 111/1: Oh, such a scrumptious young gal [...] She would take the shine out of some screamers, I tell yer.|
|Truth (Sydney) 6 Jan. 5/1: Goin’ over to New Zealand [...] in order to study the business. Ain’t he a screamer!|
|Happy Hawkins 42: I’d allus heard ’at he was a rip-snortin’ screamer, an’ here he was talkin’ low an’ level like.|
|Fighting Fleets 74: It blew a regular gale of wind, a screamer.|
|Tall Tale America 47: I’m a regular screamer from the Ohio, the Mississippi and all the streams that run into them!|
|West Coast Stories (1959) 18: [of a wave] She’s big [...] She’s a screamer.‘East Wind on Sunday’ in Drake-Brockman|
|Current Sl. II:1 6: Screamer, n. Party girl; a ‘hot number’.|
|Native Tongue 171: He was a screamer, all right.|
(b) a serious and unpleasant situation.
|Portage Sentinel (Ravenna, OH) 7 Jan. 1/1: It was a real screamer [...] both on account of what happened there, and what befel afterwards.|
|Digby Grand (1890) 288: I am in for a ‘screamer,’ and the bill for which I am arrested is only a ruse to prevent my leaving England.|
|‘Hello, Soldier!’ 95: Gawd, the last one was a screamer / Wirin’ up me flamin’ femur!‘Repaired’ in|
(c) a thrilling or funny story, a ‘screaming’ farce.
|Sam Sly 10 Feb. 4/3: We had heard of the funny affair, and will give, next week, a spicy Romance of Rosoman-street. Let our friends in that quarter look out for a screamer.|
|Household Words 24 Sept. 77/1: Actors speak of such and such a farce as being a ‘screamer’.‘Slang’ in|
|Birmingham Dly Post 20 Oct. 6/3: Theatrical slang [has] a ‘screamer’.|
|Daily Tel. 19 Jan. 3 5: A more amusing half-hour could not be spent than under the influence of this farce, which, in the old Adelphi days would most emphatically have been called a screamer [F&H].|
|Sporting Times 8 Feb. 1/2: If you’re really hard up for a rhyme, / I think I have one that will suit you this time, / It’s a screamer, I tell you—it’s something sublime.‘The Barred Bard’|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Oct. 14/3: The prominent successes of the season have been Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion,’ Maughan’s ‘The Land of Promise,’ [...] and the Yankee screamer, ‘Potash and Perlmutter.’.|
|Und. Speaks n.p.: Screamer, dramatic moving picture (prison).|
|Mad mag. July 28: A real screamer overheard at the Third Avenue A & P.|
(d) (US campus) anything exceptionally challenging, difficult, esp. work.
|AS L:1/2 65: screamer n Something that is especially difficult and mentally or emotionally taxing.‘Razorback Sl.’ in|
(e) something horrifying.
|It (1987) 154: But if this is a story, it’s not one of those classic screamers by Lovecraft or Bradbury or Poe.|
|Guardian G2 17 Dec. 5: ‘That was a screamer,’ she says, shivering at the memory.|
2. a person who lit. or fig. ‘screams’.
(a) a ballad singer.
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor I 223/2: The ballad singers – or street screamers, as we calls ’em – had the pull out of that.|
(b) (orig. US) a teller of exaggerated or very funny stories.
|Nick of the Woods I 119: I like the crittur, thar’s no denying, for he’s a screamer among Injuns.|
|Nick of the Woods II i: He’s a screamer among the Injuns.|
|Frank Fairlegh (1878) 132: Well, you are a screamer, and no mistake.|
(c) an informer [scream v. (1)].
|Family Arsenal 96: You think I’m lying? Are you a screamer or what? Of course I’m lying.|
(d) (also screamer and creamer) a woman who screams or otherwise makes a good deal of noise during intercourse [cream v. (1c)].
|(con. 1949) True Confessions (1979) 62: The screamer was a young woman whose husband had returned that day from service in the Pacific with the marines.|
|Maledicta 1 Summer 18: She’s just a groupie, a screamer-&-creamer, a celebrity-fucker, and a plaster-caster.|
|Let It Bleed 97: McAnully at first said she was ‘a screamer’ – in other words, that she cried out at the point of climax.|
|Robbers (2001) 37: He’d fucked her a coupla times himself. A real screamer.|
(e) (US campus) a practical joker, a prankster.
|Current Sl. IV:1 13: Screamer, n. A fun-loving person; a practical joker.|
(f) (orig. gay) a flagrant homosexual.
|in A Minority 88: I hate screamers [...] I don’t want to be seen talking to them.|
|San Diego Sailor 25: I thought of all the screamers I knew who would have given an eye tooth to have had the kind of time this kid had had.|
|Breaks 340: Diagonally across from us sat three screamers, lowlife semi-transvestites with pancake makeup, mascara and five o’clock shadow.|
|Lucky You 192: There was a better than even chance he’d turn out to be a Jew or some ultraliberal screamer.|
3. an object which lit. or fig. ‘screams’.
(a) (Aus.) a pornographic postcard.
|Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Aug. 1/1: Amongst the recent pictorial additions are post cards from Baby Green [...] one of the Port Said screamers resembles a corroboree can-can.|
(b) (US) a sensational newspaper headline or story.
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 7/2: Screamer (Press). Alarmist article or leader.|
|Popular Detective Oct. [Internet] There was a picture of Satchelfoot on the front page. A screamer said: SONYA KAVYAR READY TO CAVE.‘Dog Collared’ in|
|Dear ‘Herm’ 333: Roll out the screamers! The Klitchers are coming to town!!!|
|Guardian G2 3 Aug. 2: A newspaper bill board screamer on par with Titanic Sinks.|
|Guardian Editor 7 Jan. 5: The Daily Star’s front page screamer, ‘Becks wears my kecks’.|
(c) a sensational or propagandist piece of writing.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Jan. 15/3: Your jingoistic Kipling, he’s skiting for you yet; / He writes your Jingo screamers and he writes ‘Lest we Forget.’.|
(d) (US Und.) an arrest warrant.
|(con. 1930s–60s) Guilty of Everything (1998) 265: ‘Oh, you’re Huncke. We’ve got a screamer on you.’ They had a warrant for my arrest.|
(e) (US black) a siren, esp. on a police car.
|Way Past Cool 15: ‘Nobody call the cops over some shootin.’ He glanced in the siren’s direction [...] ‘Course, if they come, it with their screamer full-on.’.|
SE in slang uses
1. one who cannot hold their liquor without becoming obstreperously drunk; one- or two-pot refer to the need for only one or two drinks before they lose all control; middy, pint and schooner refer to glass sizes and denote the (small) amount of alcohol required for this effect.
|Dubbo Liberal (NSW) 6 Mar. 1/1: If the present brew is equal in its strength to past experiments, it can well adopt as a slogan — ‘a one-pot screamer’.|
|Canberra Times (ACT) 10 Apr. 2/5: When police stopped the vehicle the defendant told him he was a ‘two-pot screamer,’ and had only two beers before driving the bus.|
|Bobbin Up (1961) 34: Look at Lou. She’s a two-pot screamer, always ’as been.|
|Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 29: My husband’s pissed again — he’s always been a two-pot screamer.|
|‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xli 4/5: two schooner screamer: A pest who cannot hold liquor.|
|I’m a Jack, All Right 25: The only trouble with that was that our Cocky is a two-pint screamer, and [...] he passed out.|
|Folklore of the Aus. Pub 128: Screamer, Two-pot: a drinker who can’t hold his liquor—‘two pots and he’s stinking’.|
|Manual of Head Injuries 113: Firstly, he is likely to be a ‘one pot screamer’, in that small quantities will have quite disproportionate effects on him.|
|Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 49: Two Schooner Screamer One who can’t hold his booze.|
|Dinkum Aussie Dict. 53: Two pot screamer: A cheap drunk; someone who can get sloshed on two glasses of beer.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Screamer. Someone who becomes intoxicated and boisterous on little alcohol. As in ‘a two middy screamer’.|
|Lingo 134: A two-pot screamer, though, is one who cannot hold his, hardly ever her, grog and becomes roaring drunk on a few drinks.|
|OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] (two pot....) screamer n. (1) someone who is unable to ‘hold their liquor’.|
2. in fig. use, one who panics easily.
|OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] (two pot....) screamer n. [...] someone who panics easily i.e. goes to pieces so fast people get hit by the shrapnel.|