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adjective mo·rose \mə-ˈrōs, mȯ-\

Simple Definition of morose

  • of a person : very serious, unhappy, and quiet

  • : very sad or unhappy

Full Definition of morose

  1. 1 :  having a sullen and gloomy disposition

  2. 2 :  marked by or expressive of gloom

mo·rose·ly adverb
mo·rose·ness noun
mo·ros·i·ty play \-ˈrä-sə-tē\ noun

Examples of morose

  1. She thought of the bootlegger at home—a raddled, skinny old man, morose and suspicious. He sat on his front step with a shotgun on Halloween night. —Alice Munro, Runaway, 2004

  2. We have little finished footage to go by, but enough to give us pause: an exquisite clip of Rochefort, sitting with a book in the half-darkness, his eyes wet, gleaming, and morose. —Anthony Lane, New Yorker, 3 Feb. 2003

  3. I have never known if Momma sent for us, or if the St. Louis family just got fed up with my grim presence. There is nothing more appalling than a constantly morose child. —Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969

  4. He became morose and withdrawn and would not talk to anyone.

  5. <those morose job seekers who have grown accustomed to rejection>

Origin of morose

Latin morosus, literally, capricious, from mor-, mos will

First Known Use: 1565

Synonym Discussion of morose

sullen, glum, morose, surly, sulky, crabbed, saturnine, gloomy mean showing a forbidding or disagreeable mood. sullen implies a silent ill humor and a refusal to be sociable <remained sullen amid the festivities>. glum suggests a silent dispiritedness <a glum candidate left to ponder a stunning defeat>. morose adds to glum an element of bitterness or misanthropy <morose job seekers who are inured to rejection>. surly implies gruffness and sullenness of speech or manner <a typical surly teenager>. sulky suggests childish resentment expressed in peevish sullenness <grew sulky after every spat>. crabbed applies to a forbidding morose harshness of manner <the school's notoriously crabbed headmaster>. saturnine describes a heavy forbidding aspect or suggests a bitter disposition <a saturnine cynic always finding fault>. gloomy implies a depression in mood making for seeming sullenness or glumness <a gloomy mood ushered in by bad news>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up morose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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