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

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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

Example Sentences

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 Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969 He became morose and withdrawn and would not talk to anyone.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 But if that’s too morose, imagine a lifetime achievement award. Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Between the album’s many attempts at confessional music is a sprinkling of the indistinct pop that Post has been refining over the years, clearly meant to keep things from getting too morose. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 9 June 2022 In the first couple of episodes of the new show, Pike is morose and obsessing about his future. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 May 2022 While one game in the collection hinges on death and the afterlife in a slightly morose way, and another includes black-and-white, small-sprite samurai combat (and is awesome), this content is fine for anyone 12 and up. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 18 Apr. 2022 All of Degas’s ironic, morose and unsentimental intelligence is on display in these sentences. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2021 This is a morose serial-killer thriller, visually muted like a TV movie. Gem Seddon, Vulture, 29 Oct. 2021 Campus was quiet and morose, the silences quivering with early-term nerves. New York Times, 2 Feb. 2021 Even as tech optimism is obvious, sentiment in much of the rest of the market remains morose. James Mackintosh, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'morose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 28 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition



mo·​rose mə-ˈrōs How to pronounce morose (audio)
: very serious, unhappy, and quiet
She became morose and spoke to no one.

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