churl·​ish | \ ˈchər-lish How to pronounce churlish (audio) \

Definition of churlish

1 : of, resembling, or characteristic of a churl : vulgar
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 : difficult to work with or deal with : intractable churlish soil

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Other Words from churlish

churlishly adverb
churlishness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

The History of Churlish Goes Back to Anglo-Saxon England

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.

Examples of churlish in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Under the influence of testosterone and the spell of transgression, ROGD daughters grow churlish and aggressive. Abigail Shrier, WSJ, "When Your Daughter Defies Biology," 6 Jan. 2019 But 41 Republicans voted against the measure, which was similar to the president’s January proposal except for its more churlish treatment of Dreamers (Trump provided a path to citizenship for Dreamers, Goodlatte just offered a visa). Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "For House GOP, One Doomed Immigration Bill Down, One to Go," 21 June 2018 Eunice ignored the churlish notes that arrived regularly from her own fashion-conscious mother, criticizing her haphazard attire and her unruly hair. Eileen Mcnamara,, "How Eunice Kennedy Shriver parlayed her famous name into a legacy of public service," 27 Mar. 2018 What happened to that grinch Kyle Shanahan who alienated players with his churlish personality? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Scott Ostler: 3 Bay Area all-stars discuss mysteries of life in a bar," 6 Jan. 2018 That occupant's weekend series of racist, churlish and childish comments drew a variety of stunning rebukes and actions, which suggests jocks may finally be realizing that apathy won't cut it anymore. Kevin Spain, USA TODAY, "HBO's Bryant Gumbel thanks Trump for energizing modern American athlete," 26 Sep. 2017 The latter is what happened after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which, beset from all sides by hysterical criticism on the right and churlish disappointment on the left, registered depressed polling for years. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The Unconvincing, Cynical Case for Berniecare," 15 Sep. 2017 That said, your sin was venial at best, whereas your aunt’s behavior is churlish and wildly out of proportion. Mallory Ortberg, Slate Magazine, "Prudie counsels a woman whose husband once refused to talk dirty but now won’t shut up.," 16 May 2017 Matilda is treated with nothing but contempt by her churlish parents. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Matilda’ is weird and wonderful in San Jose," 9 Mar. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of churlish

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for churlish

Middle English cherlyssh "of churls, rustic, uncouth," going back to Old English ceorlisc, cyrlisc, from ceorl "male person, countryman, member of the lowest class of free men" + -isc -ish — more at churl

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The first known use of churlish was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of churlish

formal : not polite

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something desired as essential

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