Definition of howl in English:

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Pronunciation: /houl/


1A long, loud, doleful cry uttered by an animal such as a dog or wolf.
Example sentences
  • While in captivity, they are very vocal, uttering high-pitched whines and howls, rasping growls.
  • I could have mistaken all their offers as howls from wild wolves.
  • The white wolf diminished his baying howls, and his slavering white spittled jowls showed his past devotion.
baying, howling, bay, cry, yowl, bark, yelp
1.1A loud cry of pain, fear, anger, amusement, or derision: he let out a howl of anguish figurative I got howls of protest from readers
More example sentences
  • His howl of pain and anger was the most pleasant sound I could have heard right then.
  • But the howls of protest grew louder as passengers previously unaware of the changes turned up at stops all over town to find their usual buses were nowhere to be seen.
  • He has enormous lumps - fatty deposits, I'm told - on each side of his head, and he delivers howls of pain every time he moves, which is rarely.
1.2 [in singular] A prolonged wailing noise such as that made by a strong wind: they listened to the howl of the gale
More example sentences
  • The cries of the dying mixed with the howl of the wind and the clatter of footsteps to form an unbearable cacophony of insanity that was all but drowned out by my own silent shriek of torment.
  • The howl of the wind did nothing to drone out the sound of her desperate cry.
  • The room grew silent and the howl of the midnight wind was the only sound to punctuate the tableau.
1.3 Electronics A wailing noise in a loudspeaker due to electrical or acoustic feedback.
Example sentences
  • It also makes for a deeply satisfying rush at times, particularly when their sludgy rock pulse is accelerated into viscous gobs of noise or howls of feedback.
  • The former pits a grinding feedback howl against persistent organs before the organ eventually sputters to a halt, exhausted.
  • Though the songs have all the jittery energy and dance beats that make bank these days, hooks are absent, replaced by trebly guitar screech and electronic howls.


[no object]
1Make a howling sound: he howled in agony the wind howled around the house
More example sentences
  • A wolf howls in the autumn morning, and is joined by three other voices.
  • Last night, in the full moon, I heard a wolf howl, and this morning I woke up to a dead bear next to my side.
  • The wind howls outside but you're cosy round a big fire.
bay, cry, yowl, bark, yelp
laugh, guffaw, roar;
be doubled up, split one's sides
informal crack up, be in stitches, be rolling in the aisles, be on the floor
1.1Weep and cry out loudly: a baby started to howl
More example sentences
  • She was howling as loudly as her young lungs allowed.
  • He shrieked and he wailed and he howled and he screeched, until all the air in his lungs left, and then he still yelled.
  • Now, every time he hears the van, he howls like a baby until he is let out, runs across the road and queues up.
1.2 [with object] (howl someone down) Shout in disapproval in order to prevent a speaker from being heard: they howled me down and called me a chauvinist
More example sentences
  • When they tried to take advantage of the situation, they were howled down or sacked from their jobs.
  • A professor was howled down when he suggested some years ago that Australia should pay attention to the numbers, pace and ethnic mix of our migration intake.
  • McDowell rejected reports of a crowd of people howling him down at last week's Fianna Fail party meeting.


Middle English houle (verb), probably imitative.

Words that rhyme with howl

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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: howl

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