From Middle English groul, groulen, grollen, gurle, gurlen (“of the bowels: to growl, rumble”), either possibly from Old French groler (variant of croler (“to be agitated, shake”)), grouler, grouller (“to growl, grumble”), or from Old English gryllan, both from Proto-Germanic *gruljaną (“to make a sound; to growl, grumble, rumble”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰer- (“to make a noise; to mumble, murmur; to rattle; to grind; to rub, stroke”), probably ultimately imitative. The word is cognate with Middle Dutch grollen (“to make a noise; to croak, grumble, murmur; to be angry”) (modern Dutch grollen (“to grumble”)), German grollen (“to rumble; to be angry, bear ill will”), Old English grillan, griellan (“to provoke, offend; to gnash the teeth”). Compare grill.
The noun is derived from the verb.
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: gräŭl, IPA(key): /ɡɹaʊl/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ɡɹoʊl/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -aʊl
growl (plural growls)
- A deep, rumbling, threatening sound made in the throat by an animal.
- (by extension) The rumbling sound made by a person's stomach when hungry.
- (by extension) An aggressive grumbling.
- 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave I. Marley’s Ghost.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801, page 18:
- The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's-buff.
- (jazz, by extension) A low-pitched rumbling sound produced with a wind instrument.
- (intransitive) To utter a deep guttural sound, as an angry animal; to give forth an angry, grumbling sound.
- (intransitive, jazz) Of a wind instrument: to produce a low-pitched rumbling sound.
- (intransitive, software) To send a user a message via the Growl software library.
- (transitive) To express (something) by growling.
- The old man growled his displeasure at the postman.
- (transitive, jazz) To play a wind instrument in a way that produces a low-pitched rumbling sound.