- 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.
Origin of sullen
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sullen on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sullenly
And defeated Germany sullenly nursed her wounds, its people casting about for someone to blame.Wounds of World War I Have Yet to Heal
Michael F. Bishop
June 28, 2014
We can stand silently and sullenly beside them since, ideologically speaking, there is nowhere else to go.The Betrayed Wives Club
February 6, 2010
Why had he persisted in sullenly leaving them all and going home?Ester Ried Yet Speaking
"I pay them the same as the other stores do," he repeated, sullenly.Within the Law
The young man walked quickly to where they stood eyeing him sullenly.The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Morris sullenly took his place on the other side of the flag-pole.In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories
"First turn to the right, second to the left," I said, sullenly.The Rise of Roscoe Paine
Joseph C. Lincoln
- unwilling to talk or be sociable; sulky; morose
- sombre; gloomya sullen day
- literary sluggish; slowa sullen stream
- obsolete threatening
- (plural) archaic a sullen mood
Word Origin and History for sullenly
1570s, alteration of Middle English soleyn "unique, singular," from Anglo-French *solein, formed on the pattern of Old French soltain, from Old French soul "single" (see sole (n.2)). The sense shift in Middle English from "solitary" to "morose" occurred late 14c.