\ 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

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Jaguar’s engineering of the F-Pace SVR is all claws, fangs and growl in a velvet coat. San Diego Union-Tribune, "550-hp Jaguar F-Pace SVR: all claws, fangs and growl in a velvet coat," 15 Sep. 2019 Shirley-Girl ignores her mostly, but has growled and played many times., "Feather finds a home a long way from Texas: Send us your pet rescue stories," 22 Aug. 2019 The grizzly did not stop, but instead ran over both of them, swatting and growling while continuing on his way. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "When sharing the backcountry with bears, choose a shotgun as your companion," 20 Aug. 2019 The Chicago band Harm’s Way play hardcore/metal that growls and bashes, toggling between blasts of rapid sixteenth-note riffs and split-second yawning caverns in the music. John Adamian,, "Harm’s Way - death metal, industrial and scrambled beats - playing Webster Underground," 11 Aug. 2019 Walking around her Brighton neighborhood, with Brisket lunging and growling and biting, Pratt, 27, felt ashamed, overwhelmed. Beth Teitell,, "‘I am my dog’s emotional support animal’: Some pet parents are overwhelmed by their pooches," 15 July 2019 The graceful lions bask in their languorous power, lolling and growling and setting up the parameters of the story. New York Times, "‘The Lion King’ Review: The Art of Herding Digital Cats," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The filigreed serenades of the wind section were in the foreground throughout—the growl of the contrabassoon was delightfully prominent—and the tympani rolled with a primal thunder. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "A Revelatory Performance by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra," 31 July 2019 To keep the flame alive, here's what GM needs to do with the 2020 Corvette Stingray: Emphasize speed A 'Vette isn't a 'Vette without some serious zip, so expect the engine growl on the C8 to wake up your neighbors. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Here's how the new Corvette Stingray could morph into a 'fire-breathing monster'," 18 July 2019 Cotes’s voice sliced through the tumble of crashing drums and drilling bass, dropping to forceful growls and leaping to powerful shrieks with precision. Teta Alim, Washington Post, "D.C.’s Priests put on an explosive set with new album at 9:30 Club," 16 June 2019 The 200 exhibits a noticeable loud growl under hard acceleration; the 250h hybrid is quieter and feels stronger, tighter, and more planted overall. Frank A. Aukofer, Houston Chronicle, "2019 LEXUS UX 250h: Luxury hybrid comes with all-wheel drive," 14 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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Statistics for growl

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for growl

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

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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

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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

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