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howler

[hou-ler] /ˈhaʊ lər/
noun
1.
a person, animal, or thing that howls.
2.
Also called howler monkey. any large, prehensile-tailed tropical American monkey of the genus Alouatta, the males of which make a howling noise: some species are endangered.
3.
a mistake, especially an embarrassing one in speech or writing, that evokes laughter; a very humorous mistake or a funny blunder.
4.
Informal. something that makes a piercing and often prolonged noise, as an alarm.
Origin of howler
1790-1800
First recorded in 1790-1800; howl + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for howler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You've no idea, Dick, what a howler and piler this storm is.

  • But when winter comes, howler and his friends get together and hunt in packs.

  • He is the “howler” and “the Ruddy One”, and rides a wild boar.

    Indian Myth and Legend Donald Alexander Mackenzie
  • But once in a long while there'll be a howler, and that's what the barometer is trying to tell us now.

    Wings of the Wind Credo Harris
  • The operator noticed that the connection was open and put on the howler.

    Whispering Wires

    Henry Leverage
  • The "howler" is much prized by the Indians as an article of food.

  • He sat down and took up the last number of the howler which lay on the table.

    Mr. Isaacs F. Marion Crawford
  • He called Scraggs on the howler and explained the situation.

    Captain Scraggs Peter B. Kyne
  • Like howler he can go a surprising length of time without food and still retain his strength.

British Dictionary definitions for howler

howler

/ˈhaʊlə/
noun
1.
Also called howler monkey. any large New World monkey of the genus Alouatta, inhabiting tropical forests in South America and having a loud howling cry
2.
(informal) a glaring mistake
3.
(Brit) (formerly) a device that produces a loud tone in a telephone receiver to attract attention when the receiver is incorrectly replaced
4.
a person or thing that howls
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 howler

1832, "animal that howls," agent noun from howl (v.). Meaning "glaring blunder, ridiculous mistake" is first recorded 1890.

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

howler

noun

A very funny mistake, esp in something written or spoken rather solemnly; also, a serious and obvious mistake: His misuse of ''Rappaport'' for ''rapport'' was the season's howler (1844+)

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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