\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from howl

howl noun

Synonyms for howl


bay, keen, ululate, wail, yowl

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

No, Kerr knew this was Iggy time -- Warriors up against it, on the road, crowd howling, roof caving in, dream floating away. Scott Ostler,, "Goodbye Andre Iguodala: You will be missed," 1 July 2019 Guests literally howled as the newlyweds walked down the aisle following Sunday’s wedding ceremony at Compass Rose Brewery in Raleigh. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Hurricane Florence Rescue Pup with Cancer Checks Marrying His Best Friend off Bucket List," 13 June 2019 After hours of frantic work, the northern and western edges of the new spot fire are almost under control, but the flames are now howling southward, borne by a northern wind. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "When wildfires break out, this elite team of ‘smokejumpers’ parachute in," 12 June 2019 Flyers coach Dave Hakstol gave the refs an earful while the fans howled as the hits were shown on replay., "Jake Guentzel’s four goals helps Penguins clinch vs. Flyers," 23 Apr. 2018 Glaze toppled over in surprise as Bryan and Richie howled with laughter and gave Perry high-fives. Emily Yahr,, "'American Idol' treats Katy Perry's flirting as a joke. Some viewers aren't amused: analysis," 19 Mar. 2018 The winds howled late Wednesday, gusting to 46 mph at Reagan National Airport, which caused concern that the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin might sustain damage. Kevin Ambrose, Washington Post, "Cherry blossoms reach peak bloom after six weeks of wild weather (Photos)," 5 Apr. 2018 For three days, Mikaela Shiffrin waited as Siberian wind howled through the Taebaek Mountains. Nathan Fenno,, "Mikaela Shiffrin wins gold in giant slalom at Winter Olympics," 14 Feb. 2018 Like howling, licking up peanut butter, and comfy chairs for snuggling in. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Glezman's Dogs Have More Social Media Game Than I Do," 28 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about howl

Dictionary Entries near howl






howler monkey


Statistics for howl

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for howl

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on howl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with howl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for howl

Spanish Central: Translation of howl

Nglish: Translation of howl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of howl for Arabic Speakers

Comments on howl

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!