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howling success

A tremendous triumph, as in Their first play was a howling success. This colloquial expression employs howling in the sense of “very pronounced” or “glaring,” a usage dating from the mid-1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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