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See more synonyms for growl on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a deep guttural sound of anger or hostility: The dog growled at the mail carrier.
  2. to murmur or complain angrily; grumble.
  3. to rumble: The thunder growled.
  4. Jazz. to use flutter-tonguing in playing a wind instrument.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to express by growling.
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  1. the act or sound of growling.
  2. Jazz. the technique of flutter-tonguing.
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Origin of growl

1350–1400; Middle English groule to rumble (said of the bowels); cognate with German grollen
Related formsgrowl·ing·ly, adverbun·der·growl, nounun·growl·ing, adjective

Synonym study

2. See complain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for growled

moan, grunt, howl, rumble, bellow, roar, thunder, grumble, snarl, bark, roll, gnarl, gnarr

Examples from the Web for growled

Contemporary Examples of growled

Historical Examples of growled

  • "Diablo's a squealing pig if there ever was one," growled Dixon.


    W. A. Fraser

  • “I am not making a face,” growled the annoyed Ossipon bearishly.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • “You are too transcendental for me,” growled Ossipon, with moody concern.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • "We shall do as we please," growled Number Ten, baring his fangs.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • Some of them squealed and some of them growled when dragged out to die.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

British Dictionary definitions for growled


  1. (of animals, esp when hostile) to utter (sounds) in a low inarticulate mannerthe dog growled at us
  2. to utter (words) in a gruff or angry mannerhe growled an apology
  3. (intr) to make sounds suggestive of an animal growlingthe thunder growled around the lake
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  1. the act or sound of growling
  2. jazz an effect resembling a growl, produced at the back of the throat when playing a wind instrument
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Derived Formsgrowlingly, adverb

Word Origin for growl

C18: from earlier grolle, from Old French grouller to grumble
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 growled



1660s, from Middle English grollen "to rumble, growl" (early 15c.), from Old French grouler "to rumble," said to be from Frankish; probably ultimately of imitative origin. Related: Growled; growling. The noun is 1727, from the verb.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper