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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sullenness
Historical Examples
  • Then turning to me—You can bear the imputation of sullenness I see!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The man kept his glance averted, and the cloud of sullenness deepened on his face.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • Morty fell back on sullenness, and bade him manage it his own way.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • Lanty took the money with a mixture of humility and sullenness.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
  • The woman assumes a sullenness, and it is some time before she can be got to proceed.

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • We had confidence in Cypher's sullenness and smouldering ferocity.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • Hope was just beginning to crowd anxiety and sullenness out of the way.

    The Elusive Pimpernel Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • And, meanwhile, his very despair and sullenness had been turned to his good.

    The Light of Scarthey

    Egerton Castle
  • Theodora bent her head and cast down her eyes, not in sullenness, but in sorrow.

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
  • sullenness, if you be not too blind to perceive it, is a temper to be avoided by all means.

    The Young Man's Guide

    William A. Alcott
British Dictionary definitions for sullenness

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 sullenness

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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