Definition of growl in English:


Syllabification: growl
Pronunciation: /groul


[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.


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  • 1A low guttural sound made in the throat, especially by a dog.
    More 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.
    More 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



More 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.

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