a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

Origin of curmudgeon

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

Synonyms for curmudgeon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



a surly or miserly person
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper