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dour

[doo r, douuh r, dou-er]
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adjective
  1. sullen; gloomy: The captain's dour look depressed us all.
  2. severe; stern: His dour criticism made us regret having undertaken the job.
  3. Scot. (of land) barren; rocky, infertile, or otherwise difficult or impossible to cultivate.

Origin of dour

1325–75; Middle English < Latin dūrus dure1
Related formsdour·ly, adverbdour·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. morose, sour, moody. See glum.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dourness

Historical Examples

  • Rob turned on her with all the dourness of the Anguses in him.

    When a Man's Single

    J. M. Barrie

  • His face had an ugly, sullen look, something of his father's dourness.

    The Pioneers

    Katharine Susannah Prichard

  • Our Scottish kirk has a great reputation for dourness—but it has probably kindled more humour than it ever quenched.

    Law and Laughter

    George Alexander Morton

  • Business is lively here, the chronic "dourness" of a market being discounted by the scarcity of horseflesh.

  • "You're as obstinate as the devil," smiled Peter, but in his heart he admired the dourness of his friend.

    The Yukon Trail

    William MacLeod Raine


British Dictionary definitions for dourness

dour

adjective
  1. sullen
  2. hard or obstinate
Derived Formsdourly, adverbdourness, noun

Word Origin

C14: probably from Latin dūrus hard
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

Word Origin and History for dourness

dour

adj.

mid-14c., "severe," from Scottish and northern England dialect, probably from Latin durus "hard" (see endure); sense of "gloomy, sullen" is late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper