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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 which howls, such as a wolf or a howler monkey.
  2. A person hired to howl at a funeral
  3. 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. A hilarious joke.
  5. A bitterly cold day
  6. A heavy fall, literally or figuratively
  7. A serious accident (especially to come a howler or go a howler, e.g. "Our hansom came a howler"; compare: come a cropper)
  8. A tremendous lie
  9. A fashionably but extravagantly overdressed man, a "howling swell"
  10. 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
  2. ^ Holy Bible: King James Version, The Scofield Study Bible III, Duradera Zipper Black. Oxford University Press, USA. 2005. →ISBN.
  3. ^ Taylor, D. Wooster. The dust of Frisco Town, dedicated to the calamity howler. Publisher: Paul Elder, San Francisco May be downloaded from: