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[ker-muhj-uh n] /kərˈmʌdʒ ən/
a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.
Origin of curmudgeon
1570-80; unexplained; perhaps cur- representing cur
Related forms
curmudgeonly, adjective
grouch, crank, bear, sourpuss, crosspatch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for curmudgeonly
  • He isn't curmudgeonly about all the attention, by any means, but he is clearly more comfortable out of the limelight.
  • The praise of more curmudgeonly fellows should not be overlooked.
  • But the victims are not limited to curmudgeonly right-wingers.
  • Teach into your sixties and you develop, whether you deserve it or not, a curmudgeonly reputation.
  • Depicts his troubled relationship with his curmudgeonly father.
  • Plenty, if you're a certain curmudgeonly morning television commentator.
British Dictionary definitions for curmudgeonly


a surly or miserly person
Derived Forms
curmudgeonly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for curmudgeonly



1570s, of unknown origin; the suggestion, based on a misreading of a garbled note from Johnson, that it is from French coeur mechant "evil heart" is not taken seriously; the first syllable may be cur "dog." Liberman says the word "must have been borrowed from Gaelic (and references muigean "disagreeable person"), with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-. Related: Curmudgeonly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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