adjective, sulk·i·er, sulk·i·est.

marked by or given to sulking; sullen.
gloomy or dull: sulky weather.

noun, plural sulk·ies.

a light, two-wheeled, one-horse carriage for one person.

Origin of sulky

1735–45; akin to Old English solcen- lazy (in solcennes laziness), Frisian (N dial.) sulkig sulky
Related formssulk·i·ly, adverbsulk·i·ness, nounun·sulk·i·ly, adverbun·sulk·i·ness, nounun·sulk·y, adjective

Synonyms for sulky

Antonyms for sulky Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sulky

Historical Examples of sulky

  • If I bear marks, y'ought to see the antelope; and the sulky!

  • “Eleven years,” was the answer, after a moment of sulky hesitation.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • But this sulky, slave-driving cub must needs force the quarrel from the start.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • He would give the roan a flick, and his sulky would flash by.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Gene and Clark came in, sulky still, and inclined to snappishness when they did speak.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for sulky



adjective sulkier or sulkiest

sullen, withdrawn, or moody, through or as if through resentment
dull or dismalsulky weather
Derived Formssulkily, adverbsulkiness, noun

Word Origin for sulky

C18: perhaps from obsolete sulke sluggish, probably related to Old English āseolcan to be lazy



noun plural sulkies

a light two-wheeled vehicle for one person, usually drawn by one horse

Word Origin for sulky

C18: from sulky 1, because it can carry only one person
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 sulky

"sullen," 1744, probably from Old English asolcen "idle, lazy, slow," from past participle of aseolcan "become sluggish, be weak or idle" (related to besylcan "be languid"), from Proto-Germanic *seklanan (cf. Middle High German selken "to drop, fall").


"light carriage with two wheels," 1756, apparently a noun use of sulky (adj.), on notion of "standoffishness," because the carriage has room for only one person.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper