Denotation vs. Connotation


[suhlk] /sʌlk/
verb (used without object)
to remain silent or hold oneself aloof in a sullen, ill-humored, or offended mood:
Promise me that you won't sulk if I want to leave the party early.
a state or fit of sulking.
sulks, ill-humor shown by sulking:
to be in the sulks.
Also, sulker. a person who sulks.
Origin of sulk
1775-85; back formation from sulky
Related forms
outsulk, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sulks
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Have your sulks out, lads; you'll come round like the Priscilla on a tack, and discover you've made way by it.'

  • What difference would it make whether in the sulks or out of them?

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • He had started uphill in a fit of sulks, and he was ashamed to stop.

    Nightmare Planet Murray Leinster
  • Susie and Inez quarreled over the dishes and had the sulks all day.

    Tabitha's Vacation Ruth Alberta Brown
  • And so it came about that just before evening he stumbled upon the very same valley he had left in his sulks the morning before.

    The Three Mulla-mulgars Walter De La Mare
  • She claimed a foul and went off in a fit of sulks, of course.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • Kiki sulks, and he hid this morning, so he'll have even less than Toby.

    Barks and Purrs Colette Willy, aka Colette
  • Achilles, the man of action, without honour or imagination, sulks.

    William Shakespeare John Masefield
British Dictionary definitions for sulks


(intransitive) to be silent and resentful because of a wrong done to one, esp in order to gain sympathy; brood sullenly: the child sulked in a corner after being slapped
(often pl) a state or mood of feeling resentful or sullen: he's in a sulk because he lost the game, he's got the sulks
Also sulker. a person who sulks
Word Origin
C18: perhaps a back formation from sulky1
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 sulks



1781, back-formation of sulky (adj.). Related: Sulked; sulking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sulks



A serious business or professional person: some slick suit comes along and sets him free/ turned as the suits from the Housing Authority approached

Related Terms

birthday suit, monkey suit, zoot suit

[1979+; fr the wearing of a suit, shirt, tie, etc, at work]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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