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From Middle English howlen, houlen, from Old English *hūlian, from Proto-West Germanic *hūwilōn, from Proto-Germanic *hūwilōną, *hiuwilōną (to howl), from Proto-Indo-European *kū-, *kew- (to howl, scream).

Cognate with Saterland Frisian huulje (to howl), Dutch huilen (to howl), Old French ouler, German Low German hulen (to howl), German heulen (to howl), Danish hyle (to howl), Swedish yla (to scream, yell), Northern Luri آلٛیر(āłir, howl).


  • enPR: houl, IPA(key): /haʊl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊl


howl (plural howls)

  1. The protracted, mournful cry of a dog, wolf or other canid; also of other animals.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 117:
      [T]he fox was out on love-adventures, abused his rivals, and uttered scoffing screams and howls.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 159:
      All at once the cat thrust her paw inside the ring again, but the tailor was quick as lightning and chopped the paw off. The cats set up a terrible howl, and away they rushed through the door as fast as they could.
  2. Any similar sound.
    The howl of the wind
  3. A prolonged cry of distress or anguish; a wail.

Derived terms[edit]



howl (third-person singular simple present howls, present participle howling, simple past and past participle howled)

  1. To utter a loud, protracted, mournful sound or cry, as dogs and wolves often do.
  2. To utter a sound expressive of pain or distress; to cry aloud and mournfully; to lament; to wail.
  3. To make a noise resembling the cry of a wild beast.
  4. To utter with outcry.
    to howl derision




From Proto-Celtic *sāwol (compare Welsh haul, Breton heol; compare also Irish súil (eye)), from Proto-Indo-European *sóh₂wl̥.


howl m (plural howlyow)

  1. sun