Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screech n.

1. cheap, rotgut whisky.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Can]W.H. Pugsley Saints, Sinners and Ordinary Seamen 231: [The rating] gets hold of some bootleg scotch—‘high life’, they call it on the West Coast, and ‘screech’ in Newfie—and [etc] [OED].
K. Barber at 17 May [Internet] Another Newfoundland social event is the ‘screech-in’, a jocular ceremony where ‘come-from-aways’ (non-Newfoundlanders) are initiated to honorary Newfoundland citizenship by being made to drink ‘screech’, the potent Newfoundland rum, dip their toe in the cold ocean, and kiss a cod.

2. (US) a complaint (to the authorities).

[US]Inter Ocean (Chicago) 25 Jan. 34/4: I didn’t have any idea of sending up a screech about the dough that I had dropped.

3. (US) a hit, a success.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 27: Vera Slasher, who with the aid of her Pickaninnies is the big screech of so many programmes.

4. (gay) the throat, the mouth.

[UK]Juha ‘Polari’ [lyrics] on Polari [album] Beach in the screech. Alamo jo! / This dizzy hoofer gonna dowry jeebo. / Varda me fatcha, meshigner bona. / Savvy you gettin fericadooza.

In derivatives

screechers (adj.)


[UK] (ref. 1940s) B. Morrison Things My Mother Never Told Me 86: The wartime slang was easy enough [...] but I didn’t know about people getting whistled (mildly drunk) or screechers (completely pissed).