- showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or reserve.
- persistently and silently ill-humored; morose.
- indicative of gloomy ill humor.
- gloomy or dismal, as weather or a sound.
- sluggish, as a stream.
- Obsolete. malignant, as planets or influences.
Origin of sullen
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sullenness
Then turning to me—You can bear the imputation of sullenness I see!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
The man kept his glance averted, and the cloud of sullenness deepened on his face.Scaramouche
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
- unwilling to talk or be sociable; sulky; morose
- sombre; gloomya sullen day
- literary sluggish; slowa sullen stream
- obsolete threatening
- (plural) archaic a sullen mood
Word Origin and History for sullenness
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.