Definition of growl in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡraʊl/


[no object]
1(Of an animal, especially a dog) make a low guttural sound of hostility in the throat: the dogs yapped and growled at his heels
More example sentences
  • It's kind of a dogs-and-kids rule of thumb that if the dog growls at a kid, they shouldn't be left alone together.
  • The dog growls at the bottom of the tree, trying to claw his way up.
  • Indeed they looked like trapped tigers growling deep in their throats.
snarl, bark, yap, bay
1.1 [with direct speech] (Of a person) say something in a low harsh voice, typically in a threatening manner: ‘Keep out of this,’ he growled
More example sentences
  • I was sitting on the bench and I suppose I was growling a little bit.
  • He just growled a bit in response and went back to his room, closing the door softly so as not to disturb Jessie's friends.
  • He practically growled it and the next thing I knew I was pushed up against the wall and he kissed me.
say roughly, say brusquely, say nastily, say angrily, say abruptly, bark, snap, snarl, fling, hurl;
round on someone
informal jump down someone's throat
1.2Make a low or harsh rumbling sound: thunder growls without warning from a summer sky
More example sentences
  • A rumbling, train-like noise growls throughout this scene and follows the first woman into the café.
  • He kissed her lips as the thunder growled again, the sky filling up with a flash of lightning.
  • Thunder growled at the boat and lightning snapped at its heels constantly.


1A growling sound made by a hostile animal: the bulldog lumbered to her feet with a threatening growl [in singular]: the growl of diesel engines
More example sentences
  • In general, vocalizations are varied and include: trumpeting, whistles, twitters, honks, barks, grunts, quacks, croaks and growls.
  • Birds were not the only sounds he heard, it was almost music, but it was more natural, the trees whistled and hummed, and he could hear the rhythmic growls of the animals below.
  • He never bit anyone, as far as I can remember, but he was a master of the threatening growl.
1.1A low, harsh sound or utterance: with a growl of fury, he tightened his grip
More example sentences
  • His growls in protest when given a directive are more noticeable and he does his tasks with more resistance, apparently resentful of the ‘unfairness’ he suffered just a few hours prior.
  • It was deep and sounded more like a growl than a moan.
  • With a growl of fury, he drove up next to the smaller car and looked in.



Example sentences
  • He was appointed justice commissioner by the incoming president of the commission and another representative of the growlingly macho, if sexually somewhat ambivalent, south of Europe.
  • It delivers fully on the band's potential, a cocky, growlingly back-handed blow at the record business that had just given him and his buddies a nice contract the year before.


Example sentences
  • Monsters should have deep voices and sound all gruff and growly, and this monster didn't have that kind of voice at all.
  • ‘Don't get me wrong, I'm very, very proud of my films,’ he adds in his growly Cockney accent.
  • For over a year the re-formed quartet have been playing to five-figure crowds without a sniff of the growly tensions that broke them up.


Mid 17th century: probably imitative.

Words that rhyme with growl

afoul, befoul, cowl, foul, fowl, howl, jowl, owl, prowl, Rabaul, scowl, yowl

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: growl

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