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From Middle English howlen, houlen, from Old English *hūlian, 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, uller ("to howl"; < Germanic), German Low German hulen (to howl), German heulen (to howl), Danish hyle (to howl), Swedish hyla (to scream, yell).


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


howl (plural howls)

  1. The protracted, mournful cry of a dog or a wolf, or other like sound.
  2. 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.
    • Drayton
      And dogs in corners set them down to howl.
    • Shakespeare
      Methought a legion of foul fiends / Environ'd me about, and howled in my ears.
  2. To utter a sound expressive of pain or distress; to cry aloud and mournfully; to lament; to wail.
    • Bible, Isaiah xiii. 6
      Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand.
  3. To make a noise resembling the cry of a wild beast.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Wild howled the wind.
  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