\ 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

Synonyms for howl


bay, keen, ululate, wail, yowl

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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

Farmhouse-loving Fixer Upper fans will howl for Joanna's black-and-white collar, toy rope, leash, and pet bed, too. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Just Dropped the Cutest Christmas Collection for Pets at Target," 4 Dec. 2018 Amid ongoing debate over the Civil Rights Act in Washington, 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,, "Dorothy Cotton, civil rights leader and confidante to Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 88," 12 June 2018 But many of the conversations its characters have are such obvious references to the era of Donald Trump that the film had foreign audiences howling in recognition at its Cannes debut. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "3 winners and 2 losers from the 2019 Golden Globes nominations," 6 Dec. 2018 By Argentina Nicolas Otamendi misfired off a Dii Maria corner and howled in disappointment. Rory Smith, New York Times, "World Cup: Iceland Ties Argentina, but You Can Call It a Victory," 17 June 2018 As the home crowd erupted, Malkin spread his arms and howled, the sound of a sinner who had found atonement . . . Alex Prewitt,, "Enter the Sin Bin: What It's Like to Be Sent to 'Adult Timeout' in the NHL," 17 Apr. 2018 In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning 2007, Anna began howling and nudging her owner until Jennings woke up only to find her trailer on fire. Alexandra Gekas, Woman's Day, "10 Amazing Animal Rescue Stories," 10 Jan. 2011 Why did the emptiness of the page seem a reflection of the howling void inside me? Fernanda Eberstadt, Vogue, "Wild, Free, and Utterly Lost—Writer Fernanda Eberstadt on the Panic and Pitfalls of Post-Collegiate Life," 30 July 2018 The rain was falling heavily and the wind continued to howl as he was sent to work near Loop 610 and Bellaire, in the Meyerland area. Lindsay Peyton, Houston Chronicle, "With countless Harvey rescues, firefighter keeps pushing through," 29 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


Statistics for howl

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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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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).


to gather or build up little by little

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