scream n.(orig. US)
1. an urgent message.
|I’m from Missouri 34: Here’s a scream from Bunch.|
|Down River 21: ‘Smuggling?’ queried the surgeon. ‘That’s the line, sir. Had a scream from Headquarters about it only this morning.’ [OED].|
|Viva La Madness 41: He’s had the scream, about the kid, sent his family round the gaff.|
2. (US) speechifying, propaganda.
|Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 10 Mar. 53/4: ‘To-night’s the big rally [...] and he’s callin’ this the biggest scream of the campaign so far’.|
3. someone considered excellent, attractive.
|Maison De Shine 247: He was the big scream of the piece.|
|Tacoma Times (WA) 16 Mar. 4/4: Lord Ballyrot in Slangland [...] ‘Gee, Johnny’s a scream in his first long strides’.|
|Patriotic Schoolgirl 44: ‘Isn't she a scream?’ [...] ‘Rather! I call her topping’.|
|Flirt and Flapper 44: Flapper: You’d be a scream to teach, Great-Grandma.|
|Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 9: Little one you are a triple scream and one big yell. Yes you must have it much made, because you don’t rattle when you roll.|
|Broken Boy 77: Your father was a scream, but he drank too much.|
4. a success.
|New Ulm Rev. (MN) 3 Mar. 8/2: ‘We’ve got a team that is sure a scream from center field to sub’.|
|Psmith Journalist (1993) 297: This act is going to be a scream from start to finish.|
|Right Ho, Jeeves 12: I confidently expect it [i.e. a jacket] to be one long scream from start to finish.|
5. the act of informing on or betraying a criminal accomplice.
|Melody of Death 113: ‘Look here, George, [...] is it a scream?’ ‘A scream?’ Mr. Wallis was puzzled innocence itself. ‘Will you turn King’s evidence?’ said the other shortly.|
6. a fuss.
|Boss of Britain’s Underworld 177: Maybe the thieves thought the owner would not put up a scream. But he did. He screamed his head off.|
|DSUE (8th edn) 1025/1: since ca. 1925.|
|Viva La Madness 153: Morty [...] agreed to roll a Samsonite suitcase [...] out of grantley Adams Airport, if Sonny could get it on the plane without a scream-up.|
7. a good time.
|Chicago May (1929) 208: The experiences of Sam Weller’s old man with the shyster-lawyer, who pretended to have a pull with the judges, and had no pull at all, except for petty graft, was a scream.|
|Indep. on Sun. Real Life 29 Aug. 1: Drag queens, rubber boys, clones, diesel dykes and lipstick lezzies all having a scream at the largest lesbian and gay event in Britain.|
8. a complaint, esp. against criminal activities or to the police.
|Norman’s London (1969) 17: Mind you I used to do the same thing myself at one time, so I really should have no scream.in Sun. Graphic 20 July in|
9. an alarm, a hue and cry.
|Rough Stuff 204: Next morning when the scream came that the place had been robbed, you can imagine how the copper felt.|
|There Ain’t No Justice 42: I take half a dozen after that, make meself some lovely money [...] but the scream was in. They was all after me for carve-ups.|
|Und. Nights 19: He knew how efficient the Surrey police cordons were once a scream was on.|
|(con. 1920s) Burglar to the Nobility 18: The house I had screwed belonged to a maharajah, and the scream was in for £40,000-worth of uncut rubies.|
|Dead Butler Caper 108: Like I say, all we’ve got to do is wait ’til the scream goes up for this little lot. Then return them to a grateful insurance company.|
10. an appeal against conviction or sentence.
SE in slang uses
see under sheet n.
1. (UK Und.) at the highest estimate.
|Und. Nights 129: To the tune (at full scream) of £15,000.|
2. (US black) with total commitment, no holds barred.
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
a person; usu. as a term of address.
|Inimitable Jeeves 125: Hallo, old scream.|