- to utter a loud, prolonged, mournful cry, as that of a dog or wolf.
- to utter a similar cry in distress, pain, rage, etc.; wail.
- to make a sound like an animal howling: The wind howls through the trees.
- Informal. to go on a spree; enjoy oneself without restraint.
- to utter with howls: to howl the bad news.
- to drive or force by howls (often followed by down): to howl down the opposition.
- the cry of a dog, wolf, etc.
- a cry or wail, as of pain, rage, or protest.
- a sound like wailing: the howl of the wind.
- a loud, scornful laugh or yell.
- something that causes a laugh or a scornful yell, as a joke or funny or embarrassing situation.
Origin of howl
1300–50; Middle English hulen, houlen (v.); cognate with Dutch huilen, Low German hülen, German heulen, Danish hyle; akin to Old Norse ȳla
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (tr, adverb) to prevent (a speaker) from being heard by shouting disapprovingly
- a long plaintive cry or wail characteristic of a wolf or hound
- a similar cry of pain or sorrow
- a person or thing that is very funny
- a prolonged outburst of laughter
- electronics an unwanted prolonged high-pitched sound produced by a sound-producing system as a result of feedback
- to express in a howl or utter such cries
- (intr) (of the wind, etc) to make a wailing noise
- (intr) informal to shout or laugh
C14: houlen; related to Middle High German hiuweln, Middle Dutch hūlen, Danish hyle
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
Word Origin and History for howl down
early 13c., houlen, probably ultimately of imitative origin; similar formations are found in other Germanic languages. Related: Howled; howling. As a noun from 1590s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper