\ˈdau̇(-ə)r, ˈdu̇r \

Definition of dour 

1 : stern, harsh a dour expression on her face

2 : obstinate, unyielding an insistent hunger for learning and a dour … determination to achieve it— Walter Moberly

3 : gloomy, sullen a dour disposition

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Other Words from dour

dourly adverb
dourness noun

Examples of dour in a Sentence

She had a dour expression on her face. the dour mood of the crowd

Recent Examples on the Web

Even Senator Mitch McConnell, the ordinarily dour Republican leader from Kentucky, gave a little wave and smiled. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, "‘It’s About Time’: A Baby Comes to the Senate Floor," 19 Apr. 2018 For that, at least, Spaniards owe muchas gracias to dour Mr Rajoy. The Economist, "What Spain owes the ejected Mariano Rajoy," 7 June 2018 Its turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder with 228 horsepower is punchy enough to coax a smile out of even the most dour of souls. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "26 Vehicles Played in the Mud. Here’s the Dirt.," 12 July 2018 Unlike the ornate gilded resting places of other Plantagenet kings, Edward's coffin is a plain gray box made from Purbeck stone, fitting for the dour king. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "The Legend of Ludgar the War Wolf, King of the Trebuchets," 1 May 2017 Only an occasional quip or smile signals light beneath the dour surface. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "It’s Hard to Watch Sharp Objects, and Even Harder to Look Away," 28 June 2018 But Nigeria's second-half display in Volgograd was arguably as good as any in the World Cup and came after a fairly dour first half in which the Super Eagles did not register a shot on target. Pan Pylas,, "Musa brace gives Nigeria victory over Iceland," 22 June 2018 After a rough week for Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency cohorts, the bank for central banks is giving investors another reason to feel dour. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Bitcoin Could 'Bring the Internet to a Halt,' Says Banking Oversight Firm. Here's Why," 18 June 2018 The Berlin Wall had fallen (figuratively, at that point), and Die Mannschaft had just won a third World Cup title, emerging from a grind of a tournament that suited its style of efficient, mistake-free and occasionally dour soccer. Brian Straus,, "Germany's World Cup Title Defense Aided By San Jose Earthquakes, Silicon Valley," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dour.' 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 dour

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dour

Middle English, from Latin durus hard — more at during

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Dictionary Entries near dour

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Statistics for dour

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dour

The first known use of dour was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for dour



English Language Learners Definition of dour

: serious and unfriendly : silent and gloomy


\ˈdau̇r, ˈdu̇r\

Kids Definition of dour

: looking or being serious and unfriendly a dour old man a dour expression

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More from Merriam-Webster on dour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dour

Spanish Central: Translation of dour

Nglish: Translation of dour for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dour

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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