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[grou-ler] /ˈgraʊ lər/
a person or thing that growls.
Informal. a pitcher, pail, or other container brought by a customer for beer.
British Slang. a four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage.
Electricity. an electromagnetic device consisting of two field poles, used for indicating short-circuited coils in armatures and for magnetizing or demagnetizing objects.
an iceberg large enough to be a navigational hazard.
Origin of growler
First recorded in 1745-55; growl + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for growler
Historical Examples
  • The growler had lost her bowsprit, and was otherwise damaged, and had been forced to strike also.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Haven't you sleep enough, growler, that you're not to be knocked up for once?'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • How would they feel, to be always chained to the bench, as growler is to his kennel?

  • growler at once bounded over the low wall and dived into the underwood.

    Freaks on the Fells R.M. Ballantyne
  • For, assuredly, if in anything there was to be found a fault, growler was the boy to find it.

    Parkhurst Boys Talbot Baines Reed
  • After that he worked the growler on his own hook most of the time.

  • We can give Mr. Bradshaw a lift as far as he goes, and then he can take the growler on.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • He does not sell beer by the bucket or can or growler or schooner, but by the pint.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • However, the most ignoble conveyance is undoubtedly the "growler."

    The Champagne Standard

    Mrs. John Lane
  • I hailed a growler, and Wheeler told the driver where to go.

    The Betrayal of John Fordham B.L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
British Dictionary definitions for growler


a person, animal, or thing that growls
(Brit, slang, obsolete) a four-wheeled hansom cab
(Canadian) a small iceberg that has broken off from a larger iceberg or from a glacier, often hazardous to shipping
(US, slang) any container, such as a can, for draught beer
(derogatory, slang) a woman, esp one who is considered physically unattractive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for growler

pitcher or other vessel for beer, 1885, American English, of uncertain origin; apparently an agent noun from growl (v.). It owes its popularity to laws prohibiting sale of liquor on Sundays and thus the tippler's need to stock up. Also in early use in the expression work the growler "go on a spree." Also late 19c. slang for a four-wheeled cab.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for growler



  1. (also grollo) A container used to carry beer home from a bar: A can brought in filled with beer at a barroom is called a growler (1888+, now obsolete)
  2. A public-address loudspeaker or system; bitch box, squawk box (WWII Navy)
  3. A small iceberg (1912+)
  4. A police squad car; prowl car: They got back into the growler and took off (1980s+ Police)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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