\ 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 Nearly 900,000 jobs vanished almost overnight, over 20,000 people died and more than 200,000 were infected as ambulances howled through empty streets. New York Times, "Coronavirus in N.Y.: Live Updates," 30 May 2020 Because the rest of the league also will be rested and healed, and talent-wise, the howling pack has caught up with the W’s. Scott Ostler,, "Warriors’ last dance? It might hinge on Giannis Antetokounmpo," 7 May 2020 Anxiety and worry will scream and howl on the page. Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times, "Journal the pandemic and those weird grocery store trips — with help from Michelle Obama," 17 Apr. 2020 Other dog owners have revealed that their pets howl when the song plays as well. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "These Dogs Singing the 'Law & Order: SVU' Theme Song Are Making Everything Better," 21 Mar. 2020 The stark serenity of Rocky Mountain National Park shimmering under sheets of winter snowcover is breathtaking, at least on days when the wind isn’t howling. John Meyer, The Know, "What to do in Rocky Mountain National Park during the winter," 13 Dec. 2019 There were family groups howling in my driveway by the mid-1980s. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "With calves about to drop, Nelchina caribou are moving late and through deep snow," 9 May 2020 Even the pets got in on it as dozens of neighborhood dogs, standing at their fences with their snouts in the air, howled in harmony with the horns. John Carlisle, Detroit Free Press, "Cinco de Mayo parade breaks out in southwest Detroit despite coronavirus," 6 May 2020 Meanwhile, a fire driven by hot, dry Santa Ana winds howling up to 50 mph (80 kph) threatened the suburb of Santa Clarita north of Los Angeles and forced the evacuation of 50,000 people. Washington Post, "Firefighters race to control blazes before winds roar back," 26 Oct. 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.

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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

Cite this Entry

“Howl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for howl


How to pronounce howl (audio)

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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