\ ˈdau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce dour (audio) , ˈdu̇r How to pronounce dour (audio) \

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 Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday painted a dour picture on the state of U.S. employment, saying continued aggressive policy support is needed to fix the myriad issues still facing workers. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Bubble’s Passive Accomplice," 12 Feb. 2021 This personality can be fun or dour, earnest or cynical, politically radical or smugly apolitical. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "Lauren Oyler Is a Tough Critic of Contemporary Fiction. Can Her Novel Do Better?," 11 Feb. 2021 The mood in the West Wing has been generally dour, aides said, with many deeply upset over the president’s actions on Jan. 6 and frantically searching to find a job. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump to flee Washington and seek refuge in a MAGA oasis: Florida," 17 Jan. 2021 But the most enjoyable plunge to witness has been the downfall of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, one of the most dour and arrogant personalities in NFL history. Paul Sullivan,, "Column: 2020 was a grind for us all — but it had its moments. Here’s a look at some of the best and worst, from Anthony Rizzo’s hand sanitizer to a Big Ten fabrication.," 28 Dec. 2020 Only in the last few episodes do things turn truly dour. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Pop Culture Reckoned With #MeToo in Radical New Ways in 2020—Even as It Receded From Headlines," 22 Dec. 2020 Perfectly weighted descriptive sentences, with just a flicker of dour lyricism. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The Singular Achievement of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," 14 Dec. 2020 Albums recorded in prison are often dour affairs—the sound quality is poor and the setting sucks the life out of the performer. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "My Thirty Favorite Albums of 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 But Trump seemed deflated, with the dour disposition of a man who understood that the coronavirus progress was too late to help him in the polls. Anchorage Daily News, "White House minimizes surge in new virus cases," 15 Nov. 2020

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

15th 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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Time Traveler for dour

Time Traveler

The first known use of dour was in the 15th century

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Statistics for dour

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for dour



English Language Learners Definition of dour

formal : serious and unfriendly : silent and gloomy


\ ˈdau̇r How to pronounce dour (audio) , ˈdu̇r \

Kids Definition of dour

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

More from Merriam-Webster on dour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dour

Nglish: Translation of dour for Spanish Speakers

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