showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or reserve.
persistently and silently ill-humored; morose.
indicative of gloomy ill humor.
gloomy or dismal, as weather or a sound.
sluggish, as a stream.
Obsolete. malignant, as planets or influences.
- sul·len·ly, adverb
- sul·len·ness, noun
- un·sul·len, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use sullen in a sentence
My students were sullen, off-task, unfocused, and wouldn’t talk to each other or to me.School Districts Must Invest in Student and Teacher Well-Being | Louise Williamson | December 16, 2021 | Voice of San Diego
Thursday was supposed to be the day we shelved all the sullen, sad reminders of the difficulties and tragedies of the past year, if only for three hours.Opening Day was supposed to bring back hope. Instead, the virus won — again. | Barry Svrluga | April 2, 2021 | Washington Post
There was the Michelin-starred restaurant where the somewhat sullen chef ruled dinner service by fear and intimidation.The Toxicity of Restaurant Kitchens Is Exactly Why I Never Reported Abuses | Lindsey Danis | February 4, 2021 | Eater
They waved you into the sullen parking garage on — sigh — your word alone.Nick Saban, the ultimate control freak, learned how to handle disruption this season | Chuck Culpepper | January 1, 2021 | Washington Post
Hard and sullen, she barely bothers to conceal her misanthropy from the tourists who come into her shop, and maintains a near-reclusive distance from residents of the town.Winslet, Ronan have seaside rendezvous in ‘Ammonite’ | John Paul King | December 11, 2020 | Washington Blade
The pro-Russian rebel militia remained sullen and hostile toward the monitors.In the Killing Fields of Ukraine with Children Who Saw the MH17 Horror | Anna Nemtsova | July 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Spring is a time of new beginnings, but in the years that followed, I became inward and sullen as those memories took me under.
When the candidate was sullen and grumpy—which was often—he could read his mood and adjust the bubble accordingly.No Drama Obama’s Dramatic 2012 Reelection Campaign | Richard Wolffe | September 12, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Strung out on a punishing regimen of diet pills, the once genial young man becomes a sullen, self-pitying wreck.Richard Porton on Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra’ | Richard Porton | May 23, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Kristen Stewart was cast as Marylou at 17, before she played fair-skinned and often sullen Bella Swan in The Twilight series.‘On the Road’: Differences Between Jack Kerouac’s Novel and This Year’s Film | Anna Klassen | December 21, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
They threw down their weapons with sullen obedience and the first great step towards the re-conquest of India was taken.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
The boy, a trifle sullen since the last words, stood on the hearth with his back to the fire, his hands clasped behind him.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
But for the trees, these sullen skies and level grounds would render England dreary enough.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
But it was with sullen reluctance; and mutterings were to be heard, on all sides, that the time would come yet.Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
They made an odd procession as they marched out of the hall, under the sullen eyes of the baulked cut-throats and their mistress.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for sullen
unwilling to talk or be sociable; sulky; morose
sombre; gloomy: a sullen day
literary sluggish; slow: a sullen stream
(plural) archaic a sullen mood
- sullenly, adverb
- sullenness, noun
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