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howling success

A tremendous triumph, as in Their first play was a howling success. This colloquial expression employs howling in the sense of “very pronounced” or “glaring,” a usage dating from the mid-1800s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.