Definition of howling in English:



  • 1Producing a long, loud, doleful cry or wailing sound.

    • ‘Silence was broken by howling winds so shrill they sounded like the shrieks of dying people.’
    • ‘The howling sound grows louder as we approach the gate: there is a full moon tonight.’
    • ‘The walls screamed with the cold and harsh sound of the howling winds.’
    • ‘She heard a strange howling sound in the hills one night.’
    • ‘For a second I thought I heard my name, then the sound of a low howling wind.’
    • ‘The wind rushed past my ears, causing a howling sound.’
    • ‘Then came a terrible howling sound, the sound of the earth being torn from itself.’
    • ‘It's got howling vocals that sound like they were recorded inside a volcano.’
    • ‘A thunderous roar rent the arrow's howling passage, the sound carrying the taint of pain.’
    • ‘These fans move a truckload of air, but the catch is the tearing, howling sound that owners of highspeed fans will be familiar with.’
    • ‘Sound effects come through nicely, such as the howling wind on the mountain or the crunch of footsteps in the snow and ice.’
    • ‘High-register electronic tones ring out as Minton provides a howling jungle of sound effects, and the noise eventually builds up and then sputters out.’
    • ‘It whistled around the corners, making an eerie howling sound.’
    • ‘The sound of the howling waves: the bravest winds and the seagulls above my head made me realize that I was numb in not only my actions - but also my mind.’
    • ‘She took shelter in Aros Bay, near Tobermory, but during the night her anchor chain parted and she drifted down the sound, driven 10 miles by howling winds and strong tides.’
    • ‘I've cut out the audio track because it was just the sound of howling wind - so it's just nice pretty pictures.’
    • ‘She tells him about the strange howling sounds she heard outside.’
    • ‘Even in the impregnable fortress that was Robert Inglewood's twenty-fifth floor office on Greene Avenue, the sounds of the howling wind and pounding rain were deafening.’
    • ‘Over the sound of howling wind an animal cry could be heard, followed by ferocious roaring.’
    • ‘Then an unearthly, spooky, almost howling sound joined it.’
    baying, bay, howling, crying, cry, yowl, yowling, bark, barking, yelp, yelping
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    1. 1.1archaic Filled with or characterized by howling.
      ‘the howling wilderness’
      • ‘We reject your attempt to portray our community as a howling wilderness of thieves as a baseless and destructive smear.’
      • ‘Rilleta shuddered as a sudden howling hostility filled the world.’
      • ‘Smith became notorious for his orders to "kill everyone over the age of ten" and make the island "a howling wilderness."’
      • ‘Outside, vast and cold, littered with ruins and prowled by predators, is ‘a howling wilderness’.’
      • ‘Filson depicted the Kentucky frontier as a howling wilderness inhabited by wild beasts and uncivilized savages.’
  • 2informal Extreme or great.

    ‘the meal was a howling success’
    • ‘The reality genre took a giant step toward the mainstream with the howling success of this show's first season in summer 2000.’
    • ‘Shocking though it is to hear of locals spitting into the gutter, the descent into howling barbarism is being quite successfully checked.’
    • ‘Naturally the job goes howlingly wrong, but Frenchy's cookies, initially set up as a front, become a howling success.’
    • ‘And it's like driving without having to do the driving: You'd think that America's train system would be a howling success.’
    • ‘Wimbledon is a howling success every year, so is the London Marathon.’