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[ker-muhj-uh n] /kərˈmʌdʒ ən/
a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.
Origin of curmudgeon
1570-80; unexplained; perhaps cur- representing cur
Related forms
curmudgeonly, adjective
grouch, crank, bear, sourpuss, crosspatch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for curmudgeon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Any scruples that he ever had on that score he had removed for himself by realizing that she was a curmudgeon.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • Degas is amiability itself compared with this curmudgeon of genius.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • Not so bold, however, as the badger and not so much of a curmudgeon.

  • And I marvelled at their intimacy, and wondered what that curmudgeon of a husband had to say to it!

    Witching Hill E. W. Hornung
  • I knowed the curmudgeon's voice, and I expect he knowed my hand, for he has felt it before.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson

    John Pendleton Kennedy
  • Father Goriot was not communicative; in the sham countess' phrase he was "a curmudgeon."

    Father Goriot Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for curmudgeon


a surly or miserly person
Derived Forms
curmudgeonly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
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 curmudgeon

1570s, of unknown origin; the suggestion, based on a misreading of a garbled note from Johnson, that it is from French coeur mechant "evil heart" is not taken seriously; the first syllable may be cur "dog." Liberman says the word "must have been borrowed from Gaelic (and references muigean "disagreeable person"), with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-. Related: Curmudgeonly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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