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[sawr-hed, sohr-] /ˈsɔrˌhɛd, ˈsoʊr-/
noun, Informal.
a disgruntled or vindictive person, especially an unsportsmanlike loser:
Don't be such a sorehead, they won fair and square.
Origin of sorehead
1840-50; compare Scots sorehead a headache
Related forms
soreheadedly, adverb
soreheadedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sorehead
Historical Examples
  • "Don't be a sorehead, Bill, just because you lost," put in Fatty Hendry.

    The Rover Boys on a Hunt Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)
  • "I know one 'sorehead,'" remarked Ray with a grimace as he felt of his wound.

  • Hes been sneering and hollering like the sorehead he is, and its sure getting too much for me.

  • sorehead: A politician who has reached for something that was not his, and missed.

    The Roycroft Dictionary Elbert Hubbard
  • Obviously he was a sorehead—had some kind of grudge against Stet.

    Helpfully Yours Evelyn E. Smith
  • I guess if I had a woman like you I wouldn't be such a sorehead.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • And my Jimmie is going to work to get himself promoted and quit being a sorehead at his steady hours and all.

    Americans All Various
  • It took the sorehead feeling of wronged genius out of me for good and all.

  • We say that "knocking" is a sign of the "sorehead" and we sublimate criticism by saying that "every knock is a boost."

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann
  • As for Rucker, who's waitin' on the table an' packin' in viands from the kitchen, he takes it as sullen as a sorehead dog.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends Alfred Henry Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for sorehead


(informal, mainly US & Canadian) a peevish or disgruntled person
Derived Forms
soreheadedly, adverb
soreheadedness, noun
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 sorehead

"mean, discontented person," 1848, American English, from sore (adj.) + head (n.). Especially in 19c. U.S. political slang, a person who is dissatisfied through lack of recognition or reward for party service (1862).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sorehead



An irritable person; a constant complainer; a grouch (1848+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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