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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sulky
Historical Examples
  • If I bear marks, y'ought to see the antelope; and the sulky!

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • “Eleven years,” was the answer, after a moment of sulky hesitation.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • But this sulky, slave-driving cub must needs force the quarrel from the start.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • He would give the roan a flick, and his sulky would flash by.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • Gene and Clark came in, sulky still, and inclined to snappishness when they did speak.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • She kissed me affectionately, and on seeing my sulky face asked if I was not satisfied.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Arthur paused, looked at him angrily, but was too sore and sulky to reply.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • "If it's a dog race, there won't be any price on him," was the sulky response.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan
  • "Ought to git 'em some eyeglasses then," was the sulky response.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan
  • You could go, too, Miss Dorcas, but the sulky seat's too narrer for three.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
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sullen, withdrawn, or moody, through or as if through resentment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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