sullen

adjective
sul·​len | \ ˈsə-lən How to pronounce sullen (audio) \

Definition of sullen

1a : gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed a sullen crowd
b : suggesting a sullen state : lowering a sullen countenance
2 : dull or somber in sound or color
3 : dismal, gloomy a sullen morning
4 : moving sluggishly a sullen river

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Other Words from sullen

sullenly adverb
sullenness \ ˈsə-​lə(n)-​nəs How to pronounce sullenness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sullen

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 sullen in a Sentence

Economy got you down? Provocateur Ehrenreich … says: Don't try cheering yourself up.  … Her sharp, funny critique finds that sunny types don't necessarily live longer or better than grumps. Besides, can you really get rid of all negativity in your life? "It is not so easy," she notes, "to abandon the whiny toddler or the sullen teenager." — Richard Eisenberg, People, 26 Oct. 2009 The skies grew sullen and the air chillier, but it wasn't until the third day that the snow came. — Bill Bryson, A Walk In The Woods, 1999 Despite angry alumni calls and sullen students protests—including the cancellation of all fraternity parties at the school's annual Winter Carnival—the faculty unanimously voted in favor of the college's goal to make fraternities and sororities substantially coed, along with developing new social alternatives for its 4,300 undergraduates. — Anita Hamilton, Time, 1 Mar. 1999 sullen skies that matched our mood on the day of the funeral sullen and bored at his in-laws' house, he couldn't wait for the holidays to end
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Recent Examples on the Web

Australian citizenship, in my angry, sullen teenage mind, meant diluting my British citizenship. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Meaning of Citizenship: 9 People on How They Found Home," 5 July 2019 What makes Midsommar a triumph, though, is Dani’s metamorphosis from a sullen, shell-shocked out-of-towner to … something entirely different. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ari Aster’s Midsommar Is a Sun-Drenched Horror Triumph," 2 July 2019 Wang’s son, now a teen-ager, is shown sitting at his desk, looking a bit sullen. Andrea Denhoed, The New Yorker, "A Photographer’s Vision of Being a Mother and an Artist, Year After Year," 5 June 2019 The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. Reuel Marc Gerecht And Ray Takeyh, WSJ, "America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran," 16 June 2019 In the book, Seierstad introduced Rais as a tyrant lording over his sullen brood. Christopher De Bellaigue, The New York Review of Books, "The Seduction of Jihad," 4 Apr. 2019 Photos show a sullen-looking Trump standing next to the queen, hands at his side, a frown on his face. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: What’s with Trump’s suits? Asking a tailor," 4 June 2019 The brows essentially melt into her fair skin and platinum hair, giving Stewart the appearance of a sullen, chic alien. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kristen Stewart Is Making Bleached Eyebrows Happen," 29 May 2019 Every player in the Gonzaga locker room was sullen after the game, but the hardest to console was senior Josh Perkins. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Texas Tech shows Gonzaga that defense wins Final Four spots," 30 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sullen.' 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 sullen

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sullen

Middle English solein solitary, from Anglo-French sulein, solain, perhaps from sol, soul single, sole + -ain after Old French soltain solitary, private, from Late Latin solitaneus, ultimately from Latin solus alone

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Dictionary Entries near sullen

Sulla

sullage

Sullana

sullen

sullens

Sullivan

sullow

Statistics for sullen

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sullen

The first known use of sullen was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sullen

sullen

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sullen

used to describe an angry or unhappy person who does not want to talk, smile, etc.
literary : gray and dark

sullen

adjective
sul·​len | \ ˈsə-lən How to pronounce sullen (audio) \

Kids Definition of sullen

1 : not sociable : sulky Laura tried to cheer him up … but he only grew more sullen.— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
2 : gloomy sense 1, dreary a sullen sky

Other Words from sullen

sullenly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on sullen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sullen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sullen

Spanish Central: Translation of sullen

Nglish: Translation of sullen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sullen for Arabic Speakers

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