\ˈhau̇(-ə)l \
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

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

The left is howling at Mr. Mulvaney’s proposal this week to close public access to the CFPB’s complaint database. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Cleaning Up After Richard Cordray," 1 May 2018 The service is called Buzz, and within hours of its release, people were howling about privacy issues—because, in its original form, Buzz showed everyone the list of people you e-mail most frequently. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018 But as the mercury hovered at 3 degrees and the northwest wind howled at 25 mph Wednesday morning, the nearby boundary could just as easily have been the Arctic Circle. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake whitefish heat up Green Bay's ice in winter," 20 Jan. 2018 President Donald Trump has howled in all caps for nearly a year as the Justice Department has delved deeper and deeper into his orbit., "'A bomb on Trump's front porch': FBI's Cohen raids hit home for the president," 10 Apr. 2018 That combination forces readers to attune themselves to the narrator’s dark, howling somnia. Walton Muyumba,, "Detachment and dreaming in 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh," 12 July 2018 Amid ongoing debate over the Civil Rights Act in Washington, Ms. Cotton led 217 marchers through the streets and past the city’s old slave market, where the demonstrators were met by jeers, howling police dogs and sporadic violence. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Dorothy Cotton, civil rights leader and confidante to Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 88," 12 June 2018 In April, 1931, a stout ship that had endured howling gales, towering waves and the press of polar ice tied up at a Potomac River dock alongside the boats that took sightseers to Mount Vernon and the Marshall Hall amusement park. John Kelly, Washington Post, "In 1931, Washington tourists could visit Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic flagship," 12 May 2018 The internet howled with laughter as a result, and the NBA looked ridiculous for trying to impose the ban. Tim Bontemps,, "NBA draft's winners and losers: Mavericks, Adrian Wojnarowski, Michael Porter Jr. and more," 22 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near howl






howler monkey


Phrases Related to howl

howl with laughter

Statistics for howl

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for howl

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

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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 \
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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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