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

  • noun One that howls.
  • noun A howler monkey.
  • noun Slang A laughably stupid blunder.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who howls.
  • noun A South American monkey of the family Cebidœ and subfamily Mycetinœ: as, the ursine howler, Mycetes ursinus.
  • noun A calling device employed in telephony in place of the magnetic call-bell; a buzzer.

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

  • noun One who howls.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any South American monkey of the genus Mycetes. Many species are known. They are arboreal in their habits, and are noted for the loud, discordant howling in which they indulge at night.

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

  • noun That which howls, especially an animal which howls, such as a wolf or a howler monkey.
  • noun A painfully obvious mistake.
  • noun A hilarious joke.

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

  • noun monkey of tropical South American forests having a loud howling cry
  • noun a joke that seems extremely funny
  • noun a glaring blunder


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • In 2005, belittling his reputation for meticulous research, London's Evening Standard noted a "howler" of a mistake in "Saturday": It mentioned a Mercedes S500 with a fourth gear, but the car's strictly an automatic.

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  • In June of 2002 ABC's Sunday news show This Week broadcast the kind of howler for which network television is justifiably famous.

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  • In June of 2002 ABC's Sunday news show This Week broadcast the kind of howler for which network television is justifiably famous.

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  • Twilight at Mrs. Wickett's, when the School bell clanged for call-over, brought them back to him in a cloud — Katherine scampering along the stone corridors, laughing beside him at some "howler" in an essay he was marking, taking the cello part in a Mozart trio for the School concert, her creamy arm sweeping over the brown sheen of the instrument.

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  • T.H.E.: 'Remember the economics student who attributed the run on Northern Rock to the "laxative enforcement policies" of the Financial Services Authority?

    'Or last year's winning insight into the work of author Margaret Atwood: "The Handmaid's Tale shows how patriarchy treats women as escape goats"?

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