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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for growler

Historical Examples of growler

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for growler



a person, animal, or thing that growls
British 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

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