- 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 surlily
The Russian surlily told the conductor to attend to the wants of the lady.Jennie Baxter, Journalist
“I am a Christian,” I answered, surlily enough, for I did not like this examination.In the Days of Drake
J. S. Fletcher
When he asked them where they were going, they surlily replied that they were going to California.The Boy Settlers
"It's better than nothing," muttered he, surlily, below his breath.Luttrell Of Arran
Charles James Lever
"You can have the bunk beyand," indicated the Rough Red, surlily.Blazed Trail Stories
Stewart Edward White
- 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 surlily
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper