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sullen

[suhl-uh n] /ˈsʌl ən/
adjective
1.
showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or reserve.
2.
persistently and silently ill-humored; morose.
3.
indicative of gloomy ill humor.
4.
gloomy or dismal, as weather or a sound.
5.
sluggish, as a stream.
6.
Obsolete. malignant, as planets or influences.
Origin of sullen
1565-1575
1565-75; earlier solein, Middle English < ?
Related forms
sullenly, adverb
sullenness, noun
unsullen, adjective
unsullenly, adverb
Synonyms
1. See cross. 1, 2. See glum. 2. sulky, moody, sour, bad-tempered. 4. cheerless, clouded, overcast, somber, mournful, dark. 5. slow, stagnant.
Antonyms
1, 2. cheerful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sullen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We drew up under the rocks, and stood side by side in sullen silence.

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • Are you mistress of the petulant, the peevish, and the sullen tone?

  • The latter meets the gaze of Lantanas with a sullen look, which seems to threaten disobedience.

  • Again there was the obvious double meaning in his sullen tone.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • The wide sea of commerce was stagnant; upon the realm of Industry settled down a sullen lethargy.

    Twelve Causes of Dishonesty Henry Ward Beecher
British Dictionary definitions for sullen

sullen

/ˈsʌlən/
adjective
1.
unwilling to talk or be sociable; sulky; morose
2.
sombre; gloomy: a sullen day
3.
(literary) sluggish; slow: a sullen stream
4.
(obsolete) threatening
noun
5.
(pl) (archaic) a sullen mood
Derived Forms
sullenly, adverb
sullenness, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Anglo-French solain (unattested), ultimately related to Latin sōlus alone
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 sullen
adj.

1570s, alteration of Middle English soleyn "unique, singular," from Anglo-French *solein, formed on the pattern of Old French soltain, from Old French soul "single" (see sole (n.2)). The sense shift in Middle English from "solitary" to "morose" occurred late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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