[ hou-ling ]
/ ˈhaʊ lɪŋ /


producing or uttering a howling noise: a howling mob.
desolate, dismal, or dreary: a howling wilderness.
Informal. very great; tremendous: a howling success.

Nearby words

  1. howl down,
  2. howland island,
  3. howler,
  4. howlet,
  5. howlin' wolf,
  6. howling success,
  7. howlingly,
  8. howlround,
  9. howrah,
  10. howship's lacuna

Origin of howling

1250–1300; Middle English houlinge (gerund); see howl, -ing2

Related formshowl·ing·ly, adverb


[ houl ]
/ haʊl /

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to utter with howls: to howl the bad news.
to drive or force by howls (often followed by down): to howl down the opposition.


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) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for howling

British Dictionary definitions for howling


/ (ˈhaʊlɪŋ) /


(prenominal) informal (intensifier)a howling success; a howling error
Derived Formshowlingly, adverb


/ (haʊl) /


a long plaintive cry or wail characteristic of a wolf or hound
a similar cry of pain or sorrow
  1. a person or thing that is very funny
  2. a prolonged outburst of laughter
electronics an unwanted prolonged high-pitched sound produced by a sound-producing system as a result of feedback


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 howling



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