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[doo r, douuh r, dou-er] /dʊər, daʊər, ˈdaʊ ər/
sullen; gloomy:
The captain's dour look depressed us all.
severe; stern:
His dour criticism made us regret having undertaken the job.
Scot. (of land) barren; rocky, infertile, or otherwise difficult or impossible to cultivate.
Origin of dour
1325-75; Middle English < Latin dūrus dure1
Related forms
dourly, adverb
dourness, noun
1. morose, sour, moody. See glum. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dourness
Historical Examples
  • Too intent upon her own feelings to give heed to the dourness of the lad Peggy followed him silently as he strode from the house.

    Peggy Owen at Yorktown Lucy Foster Madison
  • His face had an ugly, sullen look, something of his father's dourness.

    The Pioneers Katharine Susannah Prichard
  • "You're as obstinate as the devil," smiled Peter, but in his heart he admired the dourness of his friend.

    The Yukon Trail William MacLeod Raine
  • Business is lively here, the chronic "dourness" of a market being discounted by the scarcity of horseflesh.

  • There was a "dourness" about his character which would not permit him to bid for popularity.

  • Stephen had apparently lost none of his dourness of the previous night.

    The Hillman E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Our Scottish kirk has a great reputation for dourness—but it has probably kindled more humour than it ever quenched.

    Law and Laughter George Alexander Morton
  • There are days when I could do a hand-spring, if for nothing more than to shock my solemn old Dinky-Dunk out of his dourness.

    The Prairie Child Arthur Stringer
  • Rob turned on her with all the dourness of the Anguses in him.

    When a Man's Single J. M. Barrie
  • All grim and grey, and waste, and dourness and dool; like the army as it returns frae the fecht.

British Dictionary definitions for dourness


/dʊə; ˈdaʊə/
hard or obstinate
Derived Forms
dourly, adverb
dourness, noun
Word Origin
C14: probably from Latin dūrus hard
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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Contemporary definitions for dourness

bleak and gloomy

Word Origin

Latin durus 'hard'

Usage Note

meteorology's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for dourness



mid-14c., "severe," from Scottish and northern England dialect, probably from Latin durus "hard" (see endure); sense of "gloomy, sullen" is late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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