verb (used without object)

to utter a long, distressful or dismal cry, as an animal or a person; howl.


a yowling cry; a howl.

Origin of yowl

1175–1225; Middle English yuhele, yule, youle, apparently from a cry of pain or distress yuhele; compare Old English geoh- (in geohthu grief)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for yowl

Historical Examples of yowl

  • Just like all tomcats, every once in a while he has to stretch his claws and yowl.

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • Are we to let t' other side run off wi' th' bone, then, while we sit on our stunts an' yowl for it?

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

  • Their poor mother pounced upon them with a yowl, but it was too late.

    Hawthorne and His Circle

    Julian Hawthorne

  • He would let out a sort of yowl; "Little Joe, can't you do it?"

    The Conquest

    Oscar Micheaux

  • With a yowl of surprise and fright, he tried to free himself from the mess.

British Dictionary definitions for yowl



to express with or produce a loud mournful wail or cry; howl


a loud mournful cry; wail or howl
Derived Formsyowler, noun

Word Origin for yowl

C13: from Old Norse gaula; related to German jaulen; see yawl ²
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 yowl

early 13c., yuhelen, probably of imitative origin. The noun is recorded from mid-15c. Related: Yowled; yowling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper