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sullen

[suhl-uh n] /ˈsʌl ən/
adjective
1.
showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or reserve.
2.
persistently and silently ill-humored; morose.
3.
indicative of gloomy ill humor.
4.
gloomy or dismal, as weather or a sound.
5.
sluggish, as a stream.
6.
Obsolete. malignant, as planets or influences.
Origin
1565-1575
1565-75; earlier solein, Middle English < ?
Related forms
sullenly, adverb
sullenness, noun
unsullen, adjective
unsullenly, adverb
Synonyms
1. See cross. 1, 2. See glum. 2. sulky, moody, sour, bad-tempered. 4. cheerless, clouded, overcast, somber, mournful, dark. 5. slow, stagnant.
Antonyms
1, 2. cheerful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sullen
  • Deep down lurks the sullen suspicion that this is a drama that the euro zone may be condemned to relive time and again.
  • It came at me in plain words one night, in that sullen calm before sleep.
  • sullen and silent, she is locked in her own private prison.
  • Where the former film is agonized and sullen, the latter is mischievous and restive, daring us to be dismayed by its insolence.
  • Dull skies, a sullen ocean, squat white prison buildings-it's a landscape of emotional devastation.
  • The sculpture, on the floor, speaks with sullen power of order and randomness and not much else.
  • His movements are sullen and lumbering, his face numbed by corpulence, his natural resting expression a look of confusion.
  • Miserable, sullen and homesick, she has a difficult time adjusting.
  • Its human operators aren't the usual sullen, get-off-my-lawn drones of the customer service ilk.
  • Questions along this line are not prudent an they are the quickest method of drying your informant into sullen silence.
British Dictionary definitions for sullen

sullen

/ˈsʌlən/
adjective
1.
unwilling to talk or be sociable; sulky; morose
2.
sombre; gloomy: a sullen day
3.
(literary) sluggish; slow: a sullen stream
4.
(obsolete) threatening
noun
5.
(pl) (archaic) a sullen mood
Derived Forms
sullenly, adverb
sullenness, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Anglo-French solain (unattested), ultimately related to Latin sōlus alone
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 sullen
adj.

1570s, alteration of Middle English soleyn "unique, singular," from Anglo-French *solein, formed on the pattern of Old French soltain, from Old French soul "single" (see sole (n.2)). The sense shift in Middle English from "solitary" to "morose" occurred late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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