Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[tes-tee] /ˈtɛs ti/
adjective, testier, testiest.
irritably impatient; touchy.
Origin of testy
late Middle English
1325-75; late Middle English testi, alteration of Middle French testu headstrong; replacing Middle English testif < Middle French. See test2, -ive
Related forms
testily, adverb
testiness, noun
tetchy, edgy, snappish, cross, irascible. See irritable.
composed. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for testily
Historical Examples
  • "They want you to come back, I suppose," said Uncle John, testily.

    Victor's Triumph Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
  • "You don't seem to think much of a cigar," said O'Shea, testily.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • "His courtesy might have effaced the recollection, I think," said Fagan, testily.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • “You might as well ask if I was lost,” Mr Powell rejoined so testily as to surprise me.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • "Perhaps, my illustrious Capataz," the doctor said, testily.

  • "Then I don't understand you,—that's clear," exclaimed O'Reilly, testily.

  • "No, the 103d; the 105th was at Barbadoes," broke in the Major, testily.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • "You should not have come here, O Hassim," said Lingard, testily.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • “You might as well ask if I was lost,” Mr. Powell rejoined so testily as to surprise me.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • "It's remarkable that you should be deaf as well as dumb," retorted the other, testily.

    Little Miss Grouch Samuel Hopkins Adams
British Dictionary definitions for testily


adjective -tier, -tiest
irritable or touchy
Derived Forms
testily, adverb
testiness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-Norman testif headstrong, from Old French teste head, from Late Latin testa skull, from Latin: shell
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for testily



c.1500, "impetuous, rash," from Middle English testif "headstrong" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French testif, Old French testu "stubborn," literally "heady," from teste "head," from Late Latin testa "skull," in classical Latin "pot, shell" (see tester (n.2)). Meaning "easily irritated" is first recorded 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for testily

Word Value for testily

Scrabble Words With Friends