Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Broom icon.svg A user suggests that this English entry be cleaned up giving the reason: "needs splitting properly according to etymology. See talk page.".
Please see the discussion on Requests for cleanup(+) or the talk page for more information and remove this template after the problem has been dealt with.



howler (plural howlers)

  1. That which howls, especially an animal which howls, such as a wolf or a howler monkey.
  2. A person hired to howl at a funeral

Other senses are derivatives of the intensifier "howling",[1] as in "howling wilderness", (Deuteronomy 32:10)[2]

  1. 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.
  2. A hilarious joke.
  3. A bitterly cold day
  4. A heavy fall, literally or figuratively
  5. A serious accident (especially to come a howler or go a howler, e.g. "Our hansom came a howler"; compare: come a cropper)
  6. A tremendous lie
  7. A fashionably but extravagantly overdressed man, a "howling swell"
  8. A calamity howler is "one that makes dismal predictions of impending disaster"[3]



  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 0-02-594980-2
  2. ^ Holy Bible: King James Version, The Scofield Study Bible III, Duradera Zipper Black. Oxford University Press, USA. 2005. ISBN 0-19-527867-4.
  3. ^ Taylor, D. Wooster. The dust of Frisco Town, dedicated to the calamity howler. Publisher: Paul Elder, San Francisco May be downloaded from: