- churlishly rude or bad-tempered: a surly waiter.
- unfriendly or hostile; menacingly irritable: a surly old lion.
- dark or dismal; menacing; threatening: a surly sky.
- Obsolete. lordly; arrogant.
Origin of surly
Glum, morose, sullen, dour, surly all are adjectives describing a gloomy, unsociable attitude. Glum describes a depressed, spiritless condition or manner, usually temporary rather than habitual: a glum shrug of the shoulders; a glum, hopeless look in his eye. Morose, which adds to glum a sense of bitterness, implies a habitual and pervasive gloominess: a sour, morose manner; morose withdrawal from human contact. Sullen usually implies reluctance or refusal to speak accompanied by glowering looks expressing anger or a sense of injury: a sullen manner, silence, look. Dour refers to a stern and forbidding aspect, stony and unresponsive: dour rejection of friendly overtures. Surly implies gruffness of speech and manner, usually accompanied by an air of injury and ill temper: a surly reply.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for surlier
Yet he was the man who not so many years before had in this place been baited as men bait a bear—the surlier, the better sport.Nicanor - Teller of Tales
C. Bryson Taylor
- sullenly ill-tempered or rude
- (of an animal) ill-tempered or refractory
- obsolete arrogant
C16: from obsolete sirly haughty; see sir
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 surlier
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper