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See more synonyms for howl on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a loud, prolonged, mournful cry, as that of a dog or wolf.
  2. to utter a similar cry in distress, pain, rage, etc.; wail.
  3. to make a sound like an animal howling: The wind howls through the trees.
  4. Informal. to go on a spree; enjoy oneself without restraint.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter with howls: to howl the bad news.
  2. to drive or force by howls (often followed by down): to howl down the opposition.
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  1. the cry of a dog, wolf, etc.
  2. a cry or wail, as of pain, rage, or protest.
  3. a sound like wailing: the howl of the wind.
  4. a loud, scornful laugh or yell.
  5. something that causes a laugh or a scornful yell, as a joke or funny or embarrassing situation.
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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
Related formsout·howl, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for howl

moan, growl, groan, yelp, wail, roar, whimper, hoot, outcry, shriek, bellow, clamor, lament, whine, bawl, bay, keen, shout, quest, bark

Examples from the Web for howl

Contemporary Examples of howl

Historical Examples of howl

  • So he let them howl as much as they liked, but never troubled his head about them.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Peter slammed its door to, crushing them so that he loosed his grip, with a howl.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Without Biddy, I should wish but to howl at the sunset, as a dog bays the moon.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • "You must be a howl," commented the captain, making for the seductive locker.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • It was enough to make any one howl with horror, for it was all so hideous.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for howl


  1. a long plaintive cry or wail characteristic of a wolf or hound
  2. a similar cry of pain or sorrow
  3. slang
    1. a person or thing that is very funny
    2. a prolonged outburst of laughter
  4. electronics an unwanted prolonged high-pitched sound produced by a sound-producing system as a result of feedback
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  1. to express in a howl or utter such cries
  2. (intr) (of the wind, etc) to make a wailing noise
  3. (intr) informal to shout or laugh
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Word Origin for howl

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


early 13c., houlen, probably ultimately of imitative origin; similar formations are found in other Germanic languages. Related: Howled; howling. As a noun from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper