• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. 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.
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  1. a state or fit of sulking.
  2. sulks, ill-humor shown by sulking: to be in the sulks.
  3. Also sulk·er. a person who sulks.
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Origin of sulk

First recorded in 1775–85; back formation from sulky
Related formsout·sulk, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for sulks

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He sulks and tells silly lies when you come to really know him.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • What difference would it make whether in the sulks or out of them?

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • Susie and Inez quarreled over the dishes and had the sulks all day.

    Tabitha's Vacation

    Ruth Alberta Brown

  • She claimed a foul and went off in a fit of sulks, of course.

    David and the Phoenix

    Edward Ormondroyd

  • Achilles, the man of action, without honour or imagination, sulks.

    William Shakespeare

    John Masefield

British Dictionary definitions for sulks


  1. (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
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  1. (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
  2. Also: sulker a person who sulks
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Word Origin

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 sulks



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper