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He became morose and withdrawn and would not talk to anyone.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 Richard Lewis’ shtick was both morose and personal. Whitney Friedlander, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 2024 Matthew Broderick inspired an entire generation of kids to be bad in John Hughes’ classic about hipster high schooler Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) and his wacky, wild day playing hooky with his morose friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). Declan Gallagher,, 11 Jan. 2024 Gone are the magnetically morose raps laid over dusty soul loops. Pitchfork, 11 Dec. 2023 The film, a sort of wan, unfunny cousin to an erstwhile Woody Allen comedy, finds morose and neurotic opera composer Steven Lauddem (a schlumpy, sad-eyed Dinklage) with writer’s block as a commission deadline looms. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for morose 

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 18 Jun. 2024.

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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