What is a Growlery?

wondrous memeWelcome to Wondrous Words Wednesday, a great meme for learning new vocabulary.  My friend Nan, fellow English major and lover of all things literary, inspired my entry when she shared this unusual word on Facebook: growlery.

Have you ever heard of a growlery?  Read on, word nerds, because it’s a  “must have.”

To learn more interesting words, visit meme hostess Kathy at her Bermuda Onion blog.

Merriam-Webster couldn’t help me with this one, so I searched online:

growlery \grou-‘ler-ē\ noun; a place of refuge or retreat when one is out of sorts or in ill-humor.

Thank you, Collins English Dictionary, for the definition of this archaic word.

Urban Dictionary defines it: a den or lair in which to prowl with one’s growler out.

Online Slang Dictionary takes a different approach: something undesirable to the point of disgust

That movie is a growlery.

Dickens often referred to a growlery in his novel Bleak House.  Here’s a photo of a growlery, from Lambert’s Suburban Architecture (1894):

Internet Archive Book Images via Flickr PD
Internet Archive Book Images via Flickr PD

Lambert’s Suburban Architecture describes this illustration:

A study or growlery is just as dear to a man’s heart as a boudoir is to a woman’s ; and the master of the house deserves to have some corner which shall be his very own, whither he can retire when he wishes to read or work, or simply smoke and rest, or receive business visitors, blissfully undisturbed by the rest of the household.

I’m sure I’m not the only woman who thinks that she deserves a growlery too!

Word Nerd Workout

Imagine you could have a growlery in your house.  What would it look like?  Where would it be?  What would you do there, “blissfully undisturbed by the rest of the household”?

Mine would be a small room not shared with anything else.  I would paint the walls moss-green, and it would have several windows looking out over the farm.  I would escape to that room to read, write, paint, and read.  The walls would not let sound in, and the door would have a solid lock.

Thanks for getting nerdy with me today.

Be sure to visit Kathy’s blog for more word nerdy words.

And if you like old words, read this article from The Atlantic on the social networks built around archaic terms.



Julia Tomiak

I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. In the Ramayana, the great epic of Ancient India, there is mention of the kopa gruha, “the room of anger, which was a part of a dwelling where one could retire to work off a bad mood”–I suppose that would be a version of a growlery.

    1. Wow, what a cool piece of cultural information. Thank you very much for adding this to the discussion! Now, a growlery doesn’t sound like a man cave at all… I think many a woman could use such a place. 😉

  2. Pardon me for butting in to your world, but I am the proud owner of a Growlery. It is not a study, studio, nor shop, nor library, nor, God forbid, a Man Cave – which smacks of lite beer and big screen T.V.s, The Growlery has heat, books, tools, a small refrigerator and a sound system …. although it does smell of stale cigars, spilled craft beer and lubricating oil. As She says, “It smells like men in here!”


    1. Ha, ha! Thank you for expanding upon my clearly insufficient description! Cheers to you, and enjoy your Growlery. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share a picture?

  3. With two teenage daughters in the house, YES, we need a growlery!

    And I admit, I would use it as much as they do — especially for the times when I look around the house at all the uncompleted chores and see the two daughters watching TV, munching on chips, and dribbling crumbs into the sofa. Their humor: excellent. My humor: very ill.

    1. I now have two teenagers, one boy one girl. Yikes! I’m so glad I’m not the only one with an ill humor upon the sight of crumbs. I tend to get resentful when I’m working and everyone else is relaxing in front of the TV. Perhaps one day I’ll run away to my growlery and read. 😉

  4. I have always wanted a space for myself. A growlery is a great name, as I no doubt would “growl” about my state of affairs, while there. When I first saw your word I thought of growler, a word I learned while in Ft Collins CO the site of many craft beer makers. A growler is: a container( can or pitcher) for beer bought by the measure. My son-in-law has 2 glass jugs he calls growlers. Do you suppose they go hand in hand. Take the growler to the growlery and enjoy a pint or sip?

      1. Nice to meet you… I tried to find that vocabulary list, but the link cricketmusings.wordpress.com led to a dead end. Are you blogging actively somewhere else?

  5. Julia, I love your word today, growlery. It sounds like its meaning, and is wonderful. It’s probably related to today’s “man cave”, although I think a growlery would be smaller.

    If I had a growlery, I wouldn’t smoke in it to unwind, but I’d certainly read in it.

  6. Oh, I love this word (by that I mean “now I love it,” since I hadn’t heard of it before)! Mine would be cozy with a nice fireplace like the photo above and a round door. Bookshelves, windows, (of course, with shutters), a comfy chair, a hot plate and snack corner (ooo, I mean a “larder”), and oil lamps for lighting. Sort of my own private hobbit hole 🙂

    1. It sounds exactly like a hobbit hole. Thanks for the reminder about snacks… those would be critical, especially if my hefty lock is in place. I’m a bit of a hobbit myself, even though I know elves are much cooler. But I’m short, I like to piddle in my garden, and I love a second breakfast. 😉

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