[door, douuhr, dou-er]
  1. sullen; gloomy: The captain's dour look depressed us all.
  2. severe; stern: His dour criticism made us regret having undertaken the job.
  3. Scot. (of land) barren; rocky, infertile, or otherwise difficult or impossible to cultivate.

Origin of dour

1325–75; Middle English < Latin dūrus dure1
Related formsdour·ly, adverbdour·ness, noun

Synonyms for dour

1. morose, sour, moody. See glum. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dourly

Historical Examples of dourly

  • Balt Haer, who had obviously already had a few, looked at him dourly.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • "Leonid Plekhanov is no longer with us," Chessman said dourly.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • "Your uncle is only forty-five and in his prime," said Aunt Augusta dourly.

  • "He will find it best in this instance," says Saxham dourly.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • "—Incorporated information and I can depend on it," said Bors dourly.

    Talents, Incorporated

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

British Dictionary definitions for dourly


  1. sullen
  2. hard or obstinate
Derived Formsdourly, adverbdourness, noun

Word Origin for dour

C14: probably from Latin dūrus hard
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 dourly



mid-14c., "severe," from Scottish and northern England dialect, probably from Latin durus "hard" (see endure); sense of "gloomy, sullen" is late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper