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curmudgeon

[ker-muhj-uh n]
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noun
  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

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grouch, crank, bear, sourpuss, crosspatch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for curmudgeon

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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.

    Unicorns

    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

curmudgeon

noun
  1. a surly or miserly person
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Derived Formscurmudgeonly, adjective

Word Origin

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

n.

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