\ 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


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

The dog’s owner, a 49-year-old woman, will be cited for barking and howling dogs., "Man assaults traffic cone with umbrella: South Euclid Police Blotter," 6 Sep. 2019 While the shelter's solid and safe, the howling wind and slapping rain that will likely accompany Dorian could frighten and rile up the animals. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Ahead of Hurricane Dorian, a Florida Humane Society found homes for 250 animals in one week," 3 Sep. 2019 So be ready to sing (and to howl like a husky) at, at 4 p.m. Friday and Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 at the SBS Woodlot Stage, and at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Sluicebox. Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska State Fair 2019: Fun from A to Z," 15 Aug. 2019 The swimmers described the underwater beauty such as seeing a snapping turtle the size of a hula hoop, and the canoeists talked about the above-water beauty, such as bald eagles and wolves howling. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "St. Paul team swims and paddles Boundary Waters in mine protest," 27 July 2019 Whether your doggy is like mine and howls at the fireworks, or more like the pups above who prefer to hide, there's one thing many dog parents know: and Fireworks are not their pooch's best friend. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "7 Ways to Keep Your Dogs Safe and Calm During the Fireworks This Fourth of July," 2 July 2019 Forget the fiery passions and howling heartbreaks of youth. Kerry Reid,, "'Four Places' at Den Theatre: As their parents age, old secrets break their silences," 11 June 2019 Every new puppy owner will face trying moments — a favorite pair of shoes devoured, trash cans upended, howling at sirens. Cathy Barrow, The Seattle Times, "I bake for dogs, and they eat it up: recipes for DIY dog biscuits," 23 July 2018 Goran Dragic was whistled for a technical after slapping Simmons on the backside of his head, and that got the crowd howling early in the third. The Associated Press, New York Times, "76ers Advance as Celtics Have Bucks on Brink of Elimination," 25 Apr. 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

2 Oct 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 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

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

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to fake an opponent out of position

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