Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The low, guttural, menacing sound made by an animal: the growl of a dog.
  • n. A gruff surly utterance: The desk officer answered my greeting with a growl.
  • intransitive v. To emit a low guttural sound or utterance.
  • intransitive v. To speak in an angry or surly manner.
  • transitive v. To utter by growling: growled the orders.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The deep, threatening sound made in the throat by an animal; a grumbling sound.
  • n. The sound made by a hungry stomach.
  • v. To utter a deep guttural sound, as an angry animal; to give forth an angry, grumbling sound.
  • v. To express (something) by growling.
  • v. To send a user a message via the Growl software library.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The deep, threatening sound made by a surly dog; a grumbling sound.
  • intransitive v. To utter a deep guttural sound, as an angry dog; to give forth an angry, grumbling sound.
  • transitive v. To express by growling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To utter a deep guttural sound of anger or hostility, as a dog or a bear; hence, to emit a sharp rumbling sound, as the forces of nature.
  • Hence To speak in an offended or discontented tone; find fault; grumble: as, he growled at being disturbed.
  • To make reluctant; cause to grudge: used reflexively.
  • To express by growling or grumbling.
  • n. A deep snarling and threatening sound from the throat, expressive of the hostility of an animal; hence, the grumbling or faultfinding of an offended or discontented person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to utter or emit low dull rumbling sounds
  • n. the sound of growling (as made by animals)

Etymologies

Middle English groule, grollen, to rumble, growl, probably from Old French grouler, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English growlen, related to Middle Dutch grollen ("to make a noise, rumble, murmur, grunt, croak, be angry"; > Dutch grollen ("to grumble")), German grollen ("to rumble, be angry, bear ill will"), Old English grillan, griellan ("to provoke, offend; gnash the teeth"). More at grill. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Well, just as he was goin 'to have one more scamper, he felt a growl -- a awful, fearful, deep _growl_," -- Phillis's voice sank to a bloodcurdling and continuous gurgle -- "and he terrembled, like this!

    The Right Stuff Some Episodes in the Career of a North Briton

  • May 30, 2009 at 6: 28 AM just FYI this isn't offical growl stuff. a much more mature windows rendition of growl is called snarl, and is in its 3rd or 4th version, you can learn more about it here: [www. fullphat.net] phlyingpenguin

    Growl For Windows Updates, Adds Gmail Notifications | Lifehacker Australia

  • And old Badger said in a tired growl from the depths of his armchair: --

    Mrs. Miniver

  • There was a growl from the bystanders, and several started for the Venetian.

    Spice and the Devil's Cave

  • When Great Britain seemed to stand alone among the jealous nations of Europe, she was not alone; for the first growl from the old lion brought to her assistance the whelps from across the seas, and the nations of the world learned that in the future they would have to fight, not Great Britain alone, but the Colonies from one end of the Empire to the other.

    Ontario's Place in the Empire

  • But always the growl, which is sometimes more like a simian grunt, and always the squint, as though the enormity of the idiocy that's happening before his eyes is positively blinding.

    Gran Torino

  • We took him to dog behaviorist and she actually said that was OK, a growl is a warning, but every time they play together it scares me.

    And we've come to the end of the road

  • When after a tearful parting from their mothers and women folk, who believe or pretend to believe in the monster that swallows their dear ones, the awe-struck novices are brought face to face with this imposing structure, the huge creature emits a sullen growl, which is in fact no other than the humming note of bull-roarers swung by men concealed in the monster's belly.

    The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion

  • When after a tearful parting from their mothers and women folk, who believe or pretend to believe in the monster that swallows their dear ones, the awe-struck novices are brought face to face with this imposing structure, the huge creature emits a sullen growl, which is in fact no other than the humming note of bull-roarers swung by men concealed in the monster’s belly.

    Chapter 67. The External Soul in Folk-Custom. § 4. The Ritual of Death and Resurrection

  • "It smells like a human being around here," said Father Bear the instant he came up to Mother Bear, and his growl was as the rolling of thunder.

    Further Adventures of Nils

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