\ 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 Expert firearms instructors and law enforcement officials at the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security can’t get near them without their owners growling possessively., "At Citizens Academy, federal investigators try to show there is more to HSI than immigration enforcement - The Boston Globe," 21 Oct. 2019 The choice, growled the prime minister at rallies across the country, was between naamdar and kaamdar—those who rely on a fancy name, and those who achieve through hard work. The Economist, "The prime minister What does Narendra Modi want?," 24 Oct. 2019 Neighbors growled, sure-footed at the center of the sensation. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "In chaotic times, Mizmor’s heavy metal is a model of composure," 3 Oct. 2019 The graffiti images on the walls have a habit of leaping to life, especially the growling tiger invoked by the movie’s title and the characters’ dialogue. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: A grim fairy tale, ‘Tigers Are Not Afraid’ peers at war through a child’s eyes," 12 Sep. 2019 The defense was an aggressive, growling menace that wreaked havoc on the Lions. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Why the Chicago Bears should be the favorites to win NFC North this year," 2 Sep. 2019 For more than seven decades, Smokey Bear’s growled mantra has remained nearly unchanged. Sarah Berns, Outside Online, "Why Smokey Bear Desperately Needs a Makeover," 24 Aug. 2019 Ghost crabs owe their rasping stomach growls to a mechanism known as the gastric mill. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ghost Crabs Use Teeth in Their Stomachs to Ward Off Predators," 12 Sep. 2019 Just steps away from the dog in the garage, a second barked and growled through the open window of a barren second floor room next door to the Strauther home. Kat Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Chained and neglected: Detroit's dog problem persists despite child deaths," 28 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 In the front gallery, Greg Meza’s Dog is a painting whose scraped-off layered reddish-orange Pyrrole paint reveals what can only be described as a hellhound whose growl reverberates across the canvas. Dallas News, "A Dallas art gallery examines identity in 'How It Looks To Be You In Egyptian Cotton'," 23 Aug. 2019 By the time the 49ers had powered to a 21-7 lead, the tiger growl was sounding more like a dyspeptic belch. Scott Ostler,, "49ers, Garoppolo, and Shanahan enjoy a dreamy day in Cincy," 15 Sep. 2019 Ultimately, the analysis pinpointed the growls to the animal’s gut: specifically, an exchange between the gastric mill’s comblike teeth and another structure called the medial tooth. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ghost Crabs Use Teeth in Their Stomachs to Ward Off Predators," 12 Sep. 2019 Hit the red ignition button and the engine fires with a deep growl and then settles into a rumbling purr. San Diego Union-Tribune, "550-hp Jaguar F-Pace SVR: all claws, fangs and growl in a velvet coat," 15 Sep. 2019 At his feet is the lion, sleek, alert, tail curled like a scimitar, mouth opened wide in a growl. New York Times, "What Leonardo da Vinci Couldn’t Finish," 11 July 2019

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

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Growl.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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

Comments on growl

What made you want to look up growl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period of high artistic development

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