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  1. a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.
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Origin of curmudgeon

1570–80; unexplained; perhaps cur- representing cur
Related formscur·mudg·eon·ly, adjective

Synonyms for curmudgeon

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for curmudgeon

curmudgeon, sorehead, grump, crank, crab, killjoy, growler, whiner, crosspatch, faultfinder, grouch, misanthrope, complainer, sourpuss, bear, malcontent, kicker, bug, griper, sulker

Examples from the Web for curmudgeon

Contemporary Examples of curmudgeon

Historical Examples of curmudgeon

  • Any scruples that he ever had on that score he had removed for himself by realizing that she was a curmudgeon.

    Tristram of Blent

    Anthony Hope

  • Degas is amiability itself compared with this curmudgeon of genius.


    James Huneker

  • Not so bold, however, as the badger and not so much of a curmudgeon.

  • And I marvelled at their intimacy, and wondered what that curmudgeon of a husband had to say to it!

    Witching Hill

    E. W. Hornung

  • I knowed the curmudgeon's voice, and I expect he knowed my hand, for he has felt it before.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson

    John Pendleton Kennedy

British Dictionary definitions for curmudgeon


  1. a surly or miserly person
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Derived Formscurmudgeonly, adjective

Word Origin for curmudgeon

C16: of unknown origin
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 curmudgeon


1570s, of unknown origin; the suggestion, based on a misreading of a garbled note from Johnson, that it is from French coeur mechant "evil heart" is not taken seriously; the first syllable may be cur "dog." Liberman says the word "must have been borrowed from Gaelic (and references muigean "disagreeable person"), with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-. Related: Curmudgeonly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper