Definition of growl in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡroul/


[no object]
1(Of an animal, especially a dog) make a low guttural sound of hostility in the throat: the dogs yapped and growled about 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.
1.1 [with direct speech] (Of a person) say something in a low grating 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.
1.2(Of a thing) make a low or harsh rumbling sound, typically one that is felt to be threatening: 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 low guttural sound made in the throat, especially by a dog.
Example sentences
  • It barred its teeth and a deep growl came from its throat.
  • She swished her tail and let a small growl out of her throat.
  • It wasn't under anyone's direct control, evident by the way it bore its sharp teeth at them, a growl rising in its throat.
1.1A low guttural sound made by a person, especially to express hostility or anger.
Example sentences
  • The black figure stumbled backwards with a growl of anger, but he held his chest in a gesture that spoke of tremendous pain.
  • I felt a growl of anger rising, and forced it down with an effort of will.
  • I made a sound in my throat that resembled a growl as I tried to grasp what the teacher was saying about Pre-Algebra.
1.2 [in singular] A low throaty sound made by a machine or engine: the growl of diesel engines



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.


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

Syllabification: growl

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