\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for growl

Synonyms: Verb

beef, bellyache, bitch, bleat, carp, caterwaul, complain, crab, croak, fuss, gripe, grizzle, grouch, grouse, grumble, grump, holler, inveigh, keen, kick, kvetch, maunder [chiefly British], moan, murmur, mutter, nag, repine, scream, squawk, squeal, wail, whimper, whine, whinge [British], yammer, yawp (or yaup), yowl

Antonyms: Verb

crow, delight, rejoice

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of growl in a Sentence


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.


The dog gave a menacing growl. He answered my question with a growl. We could hear a growl of thunder in the distance.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. Alexandra Gekas, Woman's Day, "9 Things Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You, According to Experts," 25 Feb. 2019 Behind its stupendous grille, Gladys’s Bulldog 9-liter growls at maximum torque (850 lb-ft) at a mere 1,200 rpm. Dan Neil, WSJ, "When WSJ’s Car Critic Played Fireman for a Day...," 31 Aug. 2018 Early on in Anna and the Apocalypse, the new Scottish Christmas zombie high school musical, the protagonist, Anna (Ella Hunt), hears a disgusting growling grunt from behind her. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Why zombies are so hilarious," 5 Dec. 2018 There are lots of POV shots down shadowy corridors, from which pale-faced figures leap and growl. Noel Murray,, "Review: Irish found-footage horror film 'The Devil's Doorway' can't escape clichés," 12 July 2018 On the flip side, a less tractable cat (say, one who growls or hisses when frightened) may scratch and claw her way out of your lap to avoid the procedure. Dr. Rob Sharp, Country Living, "Can I Cut My Cat's Nails at Home?," 10 Mar. 2010 There’s the simple fact that your growling, crampy stomach can wake you up. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "8 Reasons You're Waking Up Mid-Sleep, and How to Fix Them," 11 Aug. 2018 If hazing is not effective and a coyote is showing aggressive behavior such as growling or snapping, remove yourself and your pet from the area and contact Milwaukee County Parks, police said. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa Police warn of aggressive coyotes at Milwaukee County Grounds," 6 July 2018 Animals also can't display threatening behaviors such as growling, snarling or lunging. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Do's (and don'ts) of flying with an emotional support animal," 31 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The researchers had suspected that the horse’s response to emotion would mostly be due to the tone of the sound: a growl is lower pitched than a laugh. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Horses may understand human emotion, especially anger," 6 Sep. 2018 Then, as if someone flipped a switch, the dog stood on his hind legs and with a raspy growl tried to sink its fangs into my right shoulder blade. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "I Never Expected My Work Jacket to Fend Off a Dog Attack—But I'm Glad It Did," 13 Nov. 2018 With her enormous liquid-brown eyes and voice that swings effortlessly from a deep, smoky growl to a breathy high pitch, Cabello is a temptress with a sense of humor, a geek unafraid to make fun of herself. Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire, "The Other Side of Camila Cabello," 14 Nov. 2018 Once the weird burning smell from the room’s heater went away, I was lulled to sleep by its gentle growl. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "A nightmare drive down the Pacific Coast Highway conjures childhood memories," 7 Aug. 2018 There’s no subwoofer, and two speakers can’t reach that low-end growl on their own. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Roku TV Wireless Speakers review: easy listening," 29 Nov. 2018 Parker said to the newspaper in a low growl, slowly drawing out the words. Jeffrey Collins, The Seattle Times, "Body left to rot in funeral home 3 years leads to charges," 27 Aug. 2018 The speaker either played a happy human sound (a laugh) or an angry human sound (a growl). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Horses may understand human emotion, especially anger," 6 Sep. 2018 The twin-turbo V-6 jumps from the line with a satisfying but not overwhelming warble that can erupt into a growl. Robert Duffer,, "That's a Kia? Stinger puts a buzz in performance sedans," 30 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about growl

Statistics for growl

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for growl

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for growl



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on growl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with growl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!