\ 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 The first few nights after Tammy Voyles Shirley got her grandson back from foster care, the 3-year-old would scream and howl for hours. USA Today, "Foster kids lived with molesters. No one told their parents.," 16 Oct. 2020 Midnight, the coyotes began to howl, lone dogs at first, heads thrown back, teeth bared, yowling, and then the whole pack, yelping, whining: yip, yap, whoop, woo-woo, woo-hooooo. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "An October Surprise in New England," 6 Oct. 2020 At one point Cruise, 58, smiles and waves at the passengers who howl with glee. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Tom Cruise sits on speeding train for 'Mission: Impossible' stunt. Passing Norwegian motorists freak out.," 5 Oct. 2020 Temperatures run at least 10-12F warmer than average through the end of the week, before a soggy Saturday cold front ignites a few showers and a Canadian wind begins to howl early next week. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "More Late August Than Late September, But Big Changes Next Week," 21 Sep. 2020 With every cartridge introduction, hordes of hunters and shooters howl like an anvil landed on their foot. John B. Snow, Field & Stream, "Why Modern Ammo Is Better Than Your Favorite Classic Cartridge," 17 Sep. 2020 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

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

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Howl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 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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