mo·​rose mə-ˈrōs How to pronounce morose (audio)
: having a sullen and gloomy disposition
: marked by or expressive of gloom
morosely adverb
moroseness noun
morosity noun
Choose the Right Synonym for morose

sullen, glum, morose, surly, sulky, crabbed, saturnine, gloomy mean showing a forbidding or disagreeable mood.

sullen implies a silent ill humor and a refusal to be sociable.

remained sullen amid the festivities

glum suggests a silent dispiritedness.

a glum candidate left to ponder a stunning defeat

morose adds to glum an element of bitterness or misanthropy.

morose job seekers who are inured to rejection

surly implies gruffness and sullenness of speech or manner.

a typical surly teenager

sulky suggests childish resentment expressed in peevish sullenness.

grew sulky after every spat

crabbed applies to a forbidding morose harshness of manner.

the school's notoriously crabbed headmaster

saturnine describes a heavy forbidding aspect or suggests a bitter disposition.

a saturnine cynic always finding fault

gloomy implies a depression in mood making for seeming sullenness or glumness.

a gloomy mood ushered in by bad news

Examples of morose in a Sentence

She thought of the bootlegger at home—a raddled, skinny old man, morose and suspicious. He sat on his front step with a shotgun on Halloween night. Alice Munro, Runaway, 2004
We have little finished footage to go by, but enough to give us pause: an exquisite clip of Rochefort, sitting with a book in the half-darkness, his eyes wet, gleaming, and morose. Anthony Lane, New Yorker, 3 Feb. 2003
I have never known if Momma sent for us, or if the St. Louis family just got fed up with my grim presence. There is nothing more appalling than a constantly morose child. Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969
He became morose and withdrawn and would not talk to anyone. those morose job seekers who have grown accustomed to rejection
Recent Examples on the Web After months of morose predictions that crypto regulation faced an impossible hurdle in Congress, some began to express optimism that the tide had turned. Byleo Schwartz, Fortune Crypto, 19 July 2023 The first season blew through viewing records as the series took on a fresh story, look and lead character, capably personified by star Jenna Ortega as the morose Wednesday. Valli Herman, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2023 Jackson’s morose disappointment, verging for a tense moment into rage, suggests, too, that the performance will show us still more of this legendary actor’s toolkit. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 14 June 2023 When the insufferable Deetzes (Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and their morose teenage daughter (Ryder) move into the house, the ghostly couple summons Beetlejuice to help scare them away. Jessica Wang,, 9 May 2023 The morose ending is a solemn reminder that, despite material wealth and temporary comfort, human society is always only moments away from collapse... and more inclined towards violence than peace. Wesley Stenzel,, 21 Apr. 2023 The story is not a morose one, but rather a celebration of the charisma that made audiences fall in love with Fox throughout the 1980s. Joey Nolfi,, 6 Apr. 2023 Left yearning to die while death has gone on strike, the depressed hero must navigate a morose new existence all of sudden freed from the bonds of mortality. Ben Croll, Variety, 16 Mar. 2023 Troll, on the other hand, looks far more morose, with its trailer's footage only showing terrified Norwegians standing around a massive, troll-sized footprint—and this film, sadly, has no apparent ties to the 2010 Norwegian film Trollhunter. Sam MacHkovech, Ars Technica, 7 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'morose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin morosus, literally, capricious, from mor-, mos will

First Known Use

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of morose was in 1565

Dictionary Entries Near morose

Cite this Entry

“Morose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


mo·​rose mə-ˈrōs How to pronounce morose (audio)
morosely adverb
moroseness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on morose

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