Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To utter or emit a long, mournful, plaintive sound.
  • intransitive verb To cry or wail loudly, as in pain, sorrow, or anger.
  • intransitive verb Slang To laugh heartily.
  • intransitive verb Slang To go on a spree.
  • intransitive verb To express or utter with a howl. synonym: yell.
  • noun A long wailing cry.
  • noun A loud derisive call.
  • noun Slang Something uproariously funny or absurd.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The cry of a dog or wolf, or any sound resembling that cry.
  • noun A cry of anguish or distress; a loud wail.
  • To utter a loud, prolonged, and mournful cry, as that of a dog or wolf.
  • To give out a loud wailing sound, as the wind: as, the storm howls.
  • To wail; lament; make a loud mournful outcry.
  • To utter in a loud wailing tone.
  • Of an organ-pipe, same as cipher, v., 4.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To utter with outcry.
  • noun The protracted, mournful cry of a dog or a wolf, or other like sound.
  • noun A prolonged cry of distress or anguish; a wail.
  • intransitive verb To utter a loud, protracted, mournful sound or cry, as dogs and wolves often do.
  • intransitive verb To utter a sound expressive of distress; to cry aloud and mournfully; to lament; to wail.
  • intransitive verb To make a noise resembling the cry of a wild beast.
  • intransitive verb (Zoöl.) See Howler, 2.
  • intransitive verb a wild, desolate place inhabited only by wild beasts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The protracted, mournful cry of a dog or a wolf, or other like sound.
  • noun A prolonged cry of distress or anguish; a wail.
  • verb To utter a loud, protracted, mournful sound or cry, as dogs and wolves often do.
  • verb To utter a sound expressive of pain or distress; to cry aloud and mournfully; to lament; to wail.
  • verb To make a noise resembling the cry of a wild beast.
  • verb To utter with outcry.

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

  • verb cry loudly, as of animals
  • noun the long plaintive cry of a hound or a wolf
  • verb make a loud noise, as of wind, water, or vehicles
  • noun a long loud emotional utterance
  • verb laugh unrestrainedly and heartily
  • verb emit long loud cries
  • noun a loud sustained noise resembling the cry of a hound

Etymologies

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

[Middle English houlen.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English (c.1220) houlen, probably imitative

Examples

  • There was a collective howl from the audience: not singing but screaming.

    A PRIMARY FUNCTION • by C.L. Holland

  • This foreshadowing of the Messiah's coming brought a hoarse howl from the Sticks as they leaped to their feet.

    The Sun of the Wolf

  • The only time I use a howl is to make sure the yotes are around.

    Learn to Speak Coyote

  • This foreshadowing of the Messiah's coming brought a hoarse howl from the Sticks as they leaped to their feet.

    The Son of the Wolf

  • Finally, just as we had engaged a Japanese orchestra, and as the first strains of the samisens and taikos were rising, through the paper-walls came a wild howl from the street.

    Chapter 16

  • The only time I use a howl is to make sure the yotes are around.

    Learn to Speak Coyote

  • As our economy continues into the tank, come 2010 and 2012 the liberals will again howl, how did this happen to us again.

    I'm 'saddened' by 'vicious attacks' on Palin, McCain says

  • A recent confession that made me howl is in the anthology Mortified, where one of the contributors, Jillian Griffiths, describes her teen sexual fantasies about the members of Duran Duran — John puts on the Rio album and climbs on top of her like a baby tiger.

    She’s Just Not That Into You

  • A recent confession that made me howl is in the anthology Mortified, where one of the contributors, Jillian Griffiths, describes her teen sexual fantasies about the members of Duran Duran — John puts on the Rio album and climbs on top of her like a baby tiger.

    She’s Just Not That Into You

  • As Michael at Musing's musings notes, (and h/t to him for the lead), this will lead to a great howl from the Orcosphere, claiming that yet again the liberal elites are trashing the president, sneering at him from their ivory towers.

    December 2006

Comments

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  • "Late that night, we hear him mournfully playing Schubert's Serenade on his clarionet. Smudger Smith on A Sub Gun answered it by howling like a dog. The Major send Woods, his batman, to find out who the offender was. As fast as he silenced one howl, another one would start somewhere else; the pay-off was an actual farm dog behind us who took up the howling, and nobody could stop him."

    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 19, 2009

  • "and the fifth, still in shadow, will claw towards the light, hungry for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering"

    -Battlestar Galactica

    May 18, 2009

  • Two great citations here.

    May 18, 2009