adjective, tes·ti·er, tes·ti·est.

irritably impatient; touchy.

Origin of testy

1325–75; late Middle English testi, alteration of Middle French testu headstrong; replacing Middle English testif < Middle French. See test2, -ive
Related formstes·ti·ly, adverbtes·ti·ness, noun

Synonyms for testy

Antonyms for testy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for testily

Historical Examples of testily

  • "They want you to come back, I suppose," said Uncle John, testily.

    Victor's Triumph

    Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

  • "You don't seem to think much of a cigar," said O'Shea, testily.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

  • "His courtesy might have effaced the recollection, I think," said Fagan, testily.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

  • “You might as well ask if I was lost,” Mr Powell rejoined so testily as to surprise me.


    Joseph Conrad

  • "Perhaps, my illustrious Capataz," the doctor said, testily.

British Dictionary definitions for testily


adjective -tier or -tiest

irritable or touchy
Derived Formstestily, adverbtestiness, noun

Word Origin for testy

C14: from Anglo-Norman testif headstrong, from Old French teste head, from Late Latin testa skull, from Latin: shell
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 testily



c.1500, "impetuous, rash," from Middle English testif "headstrong" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French testif, Old French testu "stubborn," literally "heady," from teste "head," from Late Latin testa "skull," in classical Latin "pot, shell" (see tester (n.2)). Meaning "easily irritated" is first recorded 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper