churlish

play
adjective churl·ish \ˈchər-lish\

Definition of churlish

  1. 1 :  of, resembling, or characteristic of a churl :  vulgar

  2. 2 :  marked by a lack of civility or graciousness :  surly <he didn't like the churlish tone in his voice — Margaret Truman> <outrage is among your more churlish emotions — Robert Goldsborough> <It would be churlish not to congratulate her.>

  3. 3 :  difficult to work with or deal with :  intractable <churlish soil>

churlishly

adverb

churlishness

noun

Examples of churlish in a sentence

  1. It would be churlish not to congratulate him.

  2. <it would be churlish for any dinner guest to express anything but gratitude for his host's generous hospitality>

Did You Know?

It is easy to understand how "churlish" has come to mean "vulgar," "surly," and "intractable" if you know your English history. In Anglo-Saxon England a churl, or ceorl, was a freeman of the lowest rank who owned and cultivated a small farm. He had certain rights and had the upward mobility to rise to the rank of thane. After the Norman Conquest, however, many churls became serfs, and the word churl eventually came to be used as a pejorative for a rude, ill-bred person.

Origin and Etymology of churlish

see churl


First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of churlish

boorish, churlish, loutish, clownish mean uncouth in manners or appearance. boorish implies rudeness of manner due to insensitiveness to others' feelings and unwillingness to be agreeable <a drunk's boorish behavior>. churlish suggests surliness, unresponsiveness, and ungraciousness <churlish remarks>. loutish implies bodily awkwardness together with stupidity <a loutish oaf>. clownish suggests ill-bred awkwardness, ignorance or stupidity, ungainliness, and often a propensity for absurd antics <an adolescent's clownish conduct>.

CHURLISH Defined for English Language Learners

churlish

play
adjective churl·ish \ˈchər-lish\

Definition of churlish for English Language Learners

  • : not polite



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to handle or deal with in a skillful way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • m-ws-new-words-quiz
  • Which word means "inability to recognize faces"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ