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[groul] /graʊl/
verb (used without object)
to utter a deep guttural sound of anger or hostility:
The dog growled at the mail carrier.
to murmur or complain angrily; grumble.
to rumble:
The thunder growled.
Jazz. to use flutter-tonguing in playing a wind instrument.
verb (used with object)
to express by growling.
the act or sound of growling.
Jazz. the technique of flutter-tonguing.
Origin of growl
1350-1400; Middle English groule to rumble (said of the bowels); cognate with German grollen
Related forms
growlingly, adverb
undergrowl, noun
ungrowling, adjective
2. See complain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for growl
  • They also make a specific polar bear warning sound, a hissing growl, that lets patrollers know when to be alert.
  • It was not a dog, or a puma, which has a much higher pitched growl.
  • No hysterics, no scenes, and everyone has saved face without having to growl.
  • The dog would growl whenever the husband entered the room.
  • If they have an objection, they simply growl, and it soon becomes clear that their growls run the show.
  • But at last with a growl he shook his head and slouched off, for bears will not touch dead meat.
  • When one has seen the bear in the woods, he hears his growl in every bush.
  • They will pay for corruption with a growl, but seem to think that virtue ought always to be had for nothing.
  • But drive an hour south and that dusky sheep with its smoke-pit growl is nonexistent.
  • Then he'll retreat to a corner of the house, curl up into a tight little ball, and growl at anyone that comes near him.
British Dictionary definitions for growl


(of animals, esp when hostile) to utter (sounds) in a low inarticulate manner: the dog growled at us
to utter (words) in a gruff or angry manner: he growled an apology
(intransitive) to make sounds suggestive of an animal growling: the thunder growled around the lake
the act or sound of growling
(jazz) an effect resembling a growl, produced at the back of the throat when playing a wind instrument
Derived Forms
growlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from earlier grolle, from Old French grouller to grumble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for growl

1660s, from Middle English grollen "to rumble, growl" (early 15c.), from Old French grouler "to rumble," said to be from Frankish; probably ultimately of imitative origin. Related: Growled; growling. The noun is 1727, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for growl



To complain; mutter angrily (1707+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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