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[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
  • He called to the sulky fellow, however, and the sulky fellow came.

    The Hour and the Man Harriet Martineau
  • As usual, Dr. Lesage was sulky in his manner and very short in his answers.

    The Voyage Out Virginia Woolf
  • Her eyes were swollen the next morning, but she was not sulky.

  • 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
  • They were at first sulky, and rough in their manner and speech.

    An Explorer's Adventures in Tibet A. Henry Savage Landor
  • Pink walked abruptly away, looking very much like a sulky cherub.

    The Happy Family Bertha Muzzy Bower
  • I'm going to get Mary a new coat this fall, if the sulky plough's never paid for!'

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • 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
  • Presently the bull appeared, following the herd in sulky dignity.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
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sullen, withdrawn, or moody, through or as if through resentment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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