v. skirled, skirl·ing, skirls
To produce a high, shrill, wailing tone. Used of bagpipes.
To play (a piece) on bagpipes.
1. The shrill sound made by the chanter pipe of bagpipes.
2. A shrill wailing sound: "The skirl of a police whistle split the stillness" (Sax Rohmer).
[Middle English skrillen, skirlen, probably of Scandinavian origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.