\ 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

It's supposed to brighten dour complexions and make concealer glide over dark circles like a dream. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "A Culture Editor's Impulse Buys: $200 of Potions, Swedish Sweets, and More," 7 Jan. 2019 From the publisher: Bill Belichick is perhaps the most fascinating figure in the NFL—the infamously dour face of one of the winningest franchises in sports. Fox News, "'Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time' by Ian O'Connor," 25 Sep. 2018 Her Lisbeth exhibits little in the way of personality beyond a dour demeanor and flattened line deliveries. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’: Lisbeth Salander gets trapped in a conventional spy thriller," 6 Nov. 2018 On the encouraging side, the video was a joke, and even a dusty attempt at humor was a welcome change of pace coming from a show whose first season was relentlessly dour, ponderous and stuck up its own maze. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: ‘Westworld’ Gets a Partial Upgrade for Season 2," 18 Apr. 2018 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

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

do up







Statistics for dour

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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