howled; howling; howls

intransitive verb

: to emit a loud sustained doleful sound characteristic of members of the dog family
: to cry out loudly and without restraint under strong impulse (such as pain, grief, or amusement)
: to go on a spree or rampage

transitive verb

: to utter with unrestrained outcry
: to drown out or cause to fail by adverse outcry
used especially with down
howl noun

Examples of howl in a Sentence

The dogs were howling at the moon. several coyotes began howling close by as the sun went down
Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement Videos from hotel guests in Acapulco posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, as the storm came ashore showed blinding horizontal rain and howling winds. JosÉ Antonio Rivera and MarÍa Verza, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2023 Mark Kelly The Biden administration’s decision to build 20 more miles of Donald Trump’s border wall has both sides of the political aisle howling. Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2023 The wind was howling, and large clouds of smoke were approaching from the dry hills above the neighborhood. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 Baylor players, coaches, and fans all howled for a pass interference penalty, but there was no flag forthcoming. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 Stuck on a flight with a howling cat Dave Dzurick has been there. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2023 And don’t confuse me for a vampire, or a werewolf howling at the moon. Alicia Vrajlal,, 24 Oct. 2023 Outside his home in Valdosta, Georgia, howling winds woke up Jonathan Wick who rushed to get his young nephews from a trampoline in their backyard where waters were at his knees. Christopher Cann, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 Hurricane Idalia tore into Florida with winds howling at the speed of a fast-moving train Wednesday, splitting trees in half, ripping roofs off hotels and turning small cars into boats before sweeping into Georgia as a still-powerful storm. Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'howl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English houlen; akin to Middle High German hiulen to howl

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of howl was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near howl

Cite this Entry

“Howl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to make a long loud mournful sound like that of a dog
: to cry out loudly (as with pain, grief, or amusement)
howled in protest
howling with laughter
: to drown out or cause to fail by an outcry
howled down the opposition
howl noun

More from Merriam-Webster on howl

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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