Denotation vs. Connotation


[suhl-kee] /ˈsʌl ki/
adjective, sulkier, sulkiest.
marked by or given to sulking; sullen.
gloomy or dull:
sulky weather.
noun, plural sulkies.
a light, two-wheeled, one-horse carriage for one person.
Origin of sulky
1735-45; akin to Old English solcen- lazy (in solcennes laziness), Frisian (N dial.) sulkig sulky
Related forms
sulkily, adverb
sulkiness, noun
unsulkily, adverb
unsulkiness, noun
unsulky, adjective
1. moody, surly, morose, churlish.
1. good-humored, good-natured. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sulky
Historical Examples
  • He nodded, then his virile face changed and he gave me a sulky look.

    The Maid-At-Arms Robert W. Chambers
  • If I bear marks, y'ought to see the antelope; and the sulky!

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • As usual, Dr. Lesage was sulky in his manner and very short in his answers.

    The Voyage Out Virginia Woolf
  • “Eleven years,” was the answer, after a moment of sulky hesitation.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Orangine and Roussette were so sulky that even these princes declared they would never wed princesses so uninteresting.

    Old French Fairy Tales Comtesse de Sgur
  • But this sulky, slave-driving cub must needs force the quarrel from the start.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Pink walked abruptly away, looking very much like a sulky cherub.

    The Happy Family Bertha Muzzy Bower
  • You could go, too, Miss Dorcas, but the sulky seat's too narrer for three.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • We have just passed a man sitting on a sulky plow, driving four big horses abreast, his little six-year old daughter on his knee.

    In to the Yukon William Seymour Edwards
  • She gave him one sulky resentful look and dug her heel into Pat.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
British Dictionary definitions for sulky


adjective sulkier, sulkiest
sullen, withdrawn, or moody, through or as if through resentment
dull or dismal: sulky weather
Derived Forms
sulkily, adverb
sulkiness, noun
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from obsolete sulke sluggish, probably related to Old English āseolcan to be lazy


noun (pl) sulkies
a light two-wheeled vehicle for one person, usually drawn by one horse
Word Origin
C18: from sulky1, because it can carry only one person
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 sulky

"sullen," 1744, probably from Old English asolcen "idle, lazy, slow," from past participle of aseolcan "become sluggish, be weak or idle" (related to besylcan "be languid"), from Proto-Germanic *seklanan (cf. Middle High German selken "to drop, fall").


"light carriage with two wheels," 1756, apparently a noun use of sulky (adj.), on notion of "standoffishness," because the carriage has room for only one person.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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