verb (used without object)

to remain silent or hold oneself aloof in a sullen, ill-humored, or offended mood: Promise me that you won't sulk if I want to leave the party early.


a state or fit of sulking.
sulks, ill-humor shown by sulking: to be in the sulks.
Also sulk·er. a person who sulks.

Origin of sulk

First recorded in 1775–85; back formation from sulky
Related formsout·sulk, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sulk

mope, brood, gloom, lower, grouse, glower, gripe, moon, grump, scowl, frown

Examples from the Web for sulk

Contemporary Examples of sulk

Historical Examples of sulk

  • I ain't hired him to loaf 'round all day with Ruby and to sulk when she's gone.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Sometimes, however, the case is worse, and Evu tries to sulk.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • He did not sulk in his tent, however, but pursued his work with unabated zeal.

  • When I got home Rose came by herself to attend on me, but she continued to sulk.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • I hope I did not do anything so boyish as to sulk there, but of that I am not sure.

British Dictionary definitions for sulk



(intr) to be silent and resentful because of a wrong done to one, esp in order to gain sympathy; brood sullenlythe child sulked in a corner after being slapped


(often plural) a state or mood of feeling resentful or sullenhe's in a sulk because he lost the game; he's got the sulks
Also: sulker a person who sulks

Word Origin for sulk

C18: perhaps a back formation from sulky 1
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 sulk

1781, back-formation of sulky (adj.). Related: Sulked; sulking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper