To squawk is to make a harsh screech, like the sound that a large bird might make. Your pet parrot might squawk until you give her treats to nibble on.

The imitative word squawk first appeared in the 1800s, and around 1945, the term squawk box began to be used informally to mean "intercom or loudspeaker." Today, that term is primarily used by investors and brokers to mean "an intercom used to communicate stock deals." In addition to being the sound of an irritated bird, a squawk is also a complaint: "All he does is squawk about how hard his new job is."

Definitions of squawk

v utter a harsh abrupt scream

screak, screech, skreak, skreigh
Type of:
call, cry, holler, hollo, scream, shout, shout out, squall, yell
utter a sudden loud cry

v complain

beef, bellyache, bitch, crab, gripe, grouse, holler
Type of:
complain, kick, kvetch, plain, quetch, sound off
express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness

n the noise of squawking

“she awoke to the squawk of chickens”
“the squawk of car horns”
Type of:
sound of any kind (especially unintelligible or dissonant sound)

n informal terms for objecting

beef, bitch, gripe, kick
Type of:
the speech act of objecting

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