Definition of churlish
- 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.
- churlish soil
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It would be churlish not to congratulate him.
it would be churlish for any dinner guest to express anything but gratitude for his host's generous hospitality
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'churlish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
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