\ ˈgrau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce growl (audio) \
growled; growling; growls

Definition of growl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : rumble his stomach growled
b : to utter a growl the dog growled at the stranger
2 : to complain angrily

transitive verb

: to utter with a growl : utter angrily



Definition of growl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a deep guttural inarticulate sound

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Synonyms & Antonyms for growl

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of growl in a Sentence

Verb I could hear a dog growling behind me. My stomach's been growling all morning. “What do you want?” he growled. He's always growling about the government. Noun The dog gave a menacing growl. He answered my question with a growl. We could hear a growl of thunder in the distance.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And not just those who came because their stomachs growled. John Archibald |, al, "Florence to the hungry: You can’t eat here," 2 Feb. 2020 Amid evil cackles, flashing lights and a towering ghost pumpkin shivering and growling, a demented clown crept up behind a group of haunted house enthusiasts, waiting for just the right moment to jump from the shadows. Noelle Phillips, The Know, "What makes the 13th Floor Haunted House so scary? Science, that’s what.," 9 Oct. 2019 Some 21st-century scarecrows do their work by growling like thunder. David Wilson, Smithsonian, "These High-Tech Scarecrows Will Keep Pesky Creatures Away," 3 Sep. 2019 There are shoves from commuters who can’t wait three to four minutes for the next train, but no one growls in irritation. Washington Post, "AP Photos: In the loop: Tokyo from a commuter train line," 7 June 2019 When Bamford is addressing one person, her comedic style—a childlike speaking voice intercut with squawks, growls, and a sultry baritone—both softens and intensifies. Lizzie Feidelson, The New Yorker, "Maria Bamford Melds Speed Dating and Standup Comedy," 30 Dec. 2019 Cats use various cues to communicate with each other, from pungent scents to a variety of chirps and growls. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Why Are Black Leopards So Rare?," 18 Dec. 2019 The clip begins with the bears growling and roaring at each other, while standing in a ditch. Robyn Merrett,, "Two Bears Brawl in the Middle of a Highway as a Wolf Watches Quietly from a Distance," 24 Sep. 2019 The animal was described as alert and was hissing and growling when Watson approached. Fox News, "Colorado woman places wild bobcat in backseat 'just feet away' from son, 3: 'This could have been tragic'," 20 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Its throbbing bassline and beat, paired with Sophie Hawley-Weld’s angelic voice and Halpern’s low growl, creates a delicious cocktail that is equal parts dirty, melodic and anthemic. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Dance Songs of 2019: Staff List," 20 Dec. 2019 There’s the churning of sediment, the hums, grunts and growls of fishes and turtles. Shreya Dasgupta, Quartz India, "Noisy ships on India’s Ganga river are drowning the clicks of dolphins," 21 Nov. 2019 To each, Clarkson brings her characteristic vocal growl and inevitably gets the audience groovin' along to the beat. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "From Lizzo to Lady Gaga, Here Are Kelly Clarkson's Top 10 'Kellyoke' Covers," 11 Nov. 2019 Said Yeti is helpfully designed with big, soulful eyes, augmented by what amounts to a Wookiee growl. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Abominable' brings only small charms to latest Yeti yarn," 27 Sep. 2019 Replacing the Weeknd’s chilly falsetto is the American Idol winner’s signature growl that gets the audience up on their feet dancing. Marcus Jones,, "Watch Kelly Clarkson put a jazzy spin on the Weeknd's 'Can't Feel My Face'," 14 Oct. 2019 There are ferocious growls and unbridled sobs, anguished shrieks and boyish gasps. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, "Men at Work," 28 Oct. 2019 Simpson emerged from the celebration on the running track and celebrated with a growl that echoed through Friday night at Shelbyville. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Central football rides big plays, stout defense to shutout Shelby County on the road," 5 Oct. 2019 Welch, short, sharp and volatile, had an intense glare and a reedy growl that betrayed his blue-collar Massachusetts roots. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'growl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of growl


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1715, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for growl


Middle English groulen, grollen

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Time Traveler for growl

Time Traveler

The first known use of growl was in the 14th century

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Statistics for growl

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Growl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for growl


How to pronounce growl (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of growl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of an animal : to make a deep threatening sound
: to make a low sound like the sound of a growling animal
: to say (something) in an angry way



English Language Learners Definition of growl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a deep sound made by an animal also : a similar sound


\ ˈgrau̇l How to pronounce growl (audio) \
growled; growling

Kids Definition of growl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a deep threatening sound The dog growled.
2 : to make a low rumbling noise My stomach is growling.
3 : to complain or say in an angry way “Only use them when we absolutely have to,” growled Azaz disgustedly.— Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth



Kids Definition of growl (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a deep threatening sound (as of an animal)
2 : a grumbling or muttered complaint

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More from Merriam-Webster on growl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for growl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with growl

Spanish Central: Translation of growl

Nglish: Translation of growl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of growl for Arabic Speakers

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