\ ˈhau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce howl (audio) \
howled; howling; howls

Definition of howl

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from howl

howl noun

Synonyms for howl


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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 In addition, don’t be afraid to howl, especially during mating season which kicks in during late January. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, "5 Great Late-Season Hunting Trips," 21 Dec. 2020 Not because another senator interrupted, but because Sen. Edward Kennedy’s dog Splash, lying at his master’s feet, began to howl. Tyler Bridges,, "What was it like to work with Joe Biden? 3 former Louisiana senators offer memories," 24 Nov. 2020 While the nation was transfixed by the presidential election, Coloradans had something else to howl about. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Could the job of preserving America’s wolves shift to states?," 18 Nov. 2020 The first few nights after Tammy Voyles Shirley got her grandson back from foster care, the 3-year-old would scream and howl for hours. USA Today, "Foster kids lived with molesters. No one told their parents.," 16 Oct. 2020 Midnight, the coyotes began to howl, lone dogs at first, heads thrown back, teeth bared, yowling, and then the whole pack, yelping, whining: yip, yap, whoop, woo-woo, woo-hooooo. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "An October Surprise in New England," 6 Oct. 2020 At one point Cruise, 58, smiles and waves at the passengers who howl with glee. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Tom Cruise sits on speeding train for 'Mission: Impossible' stunt. Passing Norwegian motorists freak out.," 5 Oct. 2020 Temperatures run at least 10-12F warmer than average through the end of the week, before a soggy Saturday cold front ignites a few showers and a Canadian wind begins to howl early next week. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "More Late August Than Late September, But Big Changes Next Week," 21 Sep. 2020 With every cartridge introduction, hordes of hunters and shooters howl like an anvil landed on their foot. John B. Snow, Field & Stream, "Why Modern Ammo Is Better Than Your Favorite Classic Cartridge," 17 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'howl.' 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 howl

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

History and Etymology for howl

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

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Time Traveler for howl

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for howl

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Howl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for howl



English Language Learners Definition of howl

of a dog, wolf, etc. : to make a long, loud cry that sounds sad
of the wind : to make a long, loud sound
: to cry out loudly in pain, anger, amusement, etc.


\ ˈhau̇l How to pronounce howl (audio) \
howled; howling

Kids Definition of howl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a loud long mournful cry or sound Wolves howled at the moon. Wind was howling through the trees.
2 : to cry out loudly (as with pain or amusement) The audience howled with laughter.



Kids Definition of howl (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a loud long mournful sound made by dogs and related animals (as wolves)
2 : a long loud cry (as of distress, disappointment, or rage) A howl … of dismay went up from the creatures …— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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More from Merriam-Webster on howl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for howl

Nglish: Translation of howl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of howl for Arabic Speakers

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