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howl +‎ -er. Some senses are derivatives of the intensifier "howling",[1] as in "howling wilderness", (Deuteronomy 32:10)[2]



howler (plural howlers)

  1. That which howls, especially an animal such as a wolf or a howler monkey.
  2. (historical) A person hired to howl at a funeral.
  3. (slang) A painfully obvious mistake.
    • 2009, Tom Burton, Quadrant, November 2009, No. 461 (Volume LIII, Number 11), Quadrant Magazine Limited, page 78:
      A howler is a glaring mistake, a mistake that cries out to be noticed.
  4. (slang) A hilarious joke.
  5. (slang) A bitterly cold day.
  6. (sometimes figuratively) A heavy fall.
  7. (slang) A serious accident (especially to come a howler or go a howler, e.g. "Our hansom came a howler"; compare: come a cropper).
  8. (slang) A tremendous lie; a whopper.
  9. (slang, dated) A fashionably but extravagantly overdressed man, a "howling swell".
  10. (historical) A 32-ounce ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel jug used to transport draft beer.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Beale, Paul; Partridge, Eric (1984). A dictionary of slang and unconventional English: colloquialisms and catch-phrases, solecisms and catachreses, nicknames, and vulgarisms. New York: Macmillan. →ISBN
  2. ^ Holy Bible: King James Version, The Scofield Study Bible III, Duradera Zipper Black. Oxford University Press, USA. 2005. →ISBN.