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howler

[hou-ler] /ˈhaʊ lər/
noun
1.
a person, animal, or thing that howls.
2.
Also called howler monkey. any large, prehensile-tailed tropical American monkey of the genus Alouatta, the males of which make a howling noise: some species are endangered.
3.
a mistake, especially an embarrassing one in speech or writing, that evokes laughter; a very humorous mistake or a funny blunder.
4.
Informal. something that makes a piercing and often prolonged noise, as an alarm.
Origin of howler
1790-1800
1790-1800; howl + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for howler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But when winter comes, howler and his friends get together and hunt in packs.

  • You've no idea, Dick, what a howler and piler this storm is.

  • They were considerably larger than any we had seen; indeed, the howler is the largest monkey in the New World.

    On the Banks of the Amazon W.H.G. Kingston
  • He sat down and took up the last number of the howler which lay on the table.

    Mr. Isaacs F. Marion Crawford
  • The operator noticed that the connection was open and put on the howler.

    Whispering Wires Henry Leverage
  • He called Scraggs on the howler and explained the situation.

    Captain Scraggs Peter B. Kyne
  • In the Hebrew it is tannoth, howler—jackal; making a noise like the howling jackal in the wilderness.

    Is the Devil a Myth? C. F. Wimberly
  • The receiver is designed specially for the purpose and is known as a "howler."

  • The telephone call at five minutes past twelve, and the howler put on soon afterward, checks up.

    Whispering Wires Henry Leverage
British Dictionary definitions for howler

howler

/ˈhaʊlə/
noun
1.
Also called howler monkey. any large New World monkey of the genus Alouatta, inhabiting tropical forests in South America and having a loud howling cry
2.
(informal) a glaring mistake
3.
(Brit) (formerly) a device that produces a loud tone in a telephone receiver to attract attention when the receiver is incorrectly replaced
4.
a person or thing that howls
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 howler

1832, "animal that howls," agent noun from howl (v.). Meaning "glaring blunder, ridiculous mistake" is first recorded 1890.

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

howler

noun

A very funny mistake, esp in something written or spoken rather solemnly; also, a serious and obvious mistake: His misuse of ''Rappaport'' for ''rapport'' was the season's howler (1844+)

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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