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
  1. verb
    utter a harsh abrupt scream
    synonyms: screak, screech, skreak, skreigh
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    type of:
    call, cry, holler, hollo, scream, shout, shout out, squall, yell
    utter a sudden loud cry
  2. verb
    synonyms: beef, bellyache, bitch, crab, gripe, grouse, holler
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    type of:
    complain, kick, kvetch, plain, quetch, sound off
    express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
  3. noun
    the noise of squawking
    “she awoke to the squawk of chickens”
    “the squawk of car horns”
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    type of:
    sound of any kind (especially unintelligible or dissonant sound)
  4. noun
    informal terms for objecting
    synonyms: beef, bitch, gripe, kick
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    type of:
    the speech act of objecting
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