You're a shriek

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
What's your definition for "shriek" in the following context from "Manhattan Transfer" by Dos Passos:
"So many things shock me, I dont see that it matters much... But come along let's get out of here. The sun's shining outside and people are coming out of church and going home to overeat and read at their Sunday papers among the rubberplants..."
"Oh Jimmy you're a shriek... "
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    It's impossible to tell whether a "shriek" is good, bad or indifferent without knowing the speaker's opinions. More context—including the speaker's desires, inclinations, etc.—is necessary.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it means someone who makes the speaker laugh. I agree with cyberpedant that more context might help. However, since you've already given the source and the maximum four sentences, we can't ask for it here; perhaps someone who has read the book can say more.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, it means the speaker sees Jimmy as very funny. I don't think we use "shriek" that way any more, but we still say "you're a scream". (See noun definition 2).

    PS. Here's a link to a Google Books copy of Manhattan Transfer, in case it's useful:).
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English English
    No, I've never heard You're a shriek before either, though, as Mrs Loob says, we still stay You're a scream (or a hoot, or a riot, stop listing, Ewie).
    < Previous | Next >