surly was our Word of the Day on 09/17/2008. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of surly in a Sentence
went about his chores in a surly huff, totally annoyed that he was stuck at home on this beautiful Saturday
the surly receptionist told us we'd have to wait outside in the rain
Recent Examples of surly from the Web
The female characters are also a trifle thin, with Laura Harrier as Peter's crush, while deriving modest mirth from Zendaya as Peter's surly classmate and continuing the gag about Tomei being far more attractive than Aunt May in the comics.
However, though Lego and My Little Pony toys both have TV credits and hard-core adult fans in addition to kids, even under pressure Princess Twilight Sparkle is a bit less surly than, say, Lego Batman.
In Don Siegel’s 1971 adaptation of the novel, the cleansing duties were handled by the slave Hallie (Mae Mercer), the one woman at the Farnsworth Seminary entirely immune to the surly magnetism of Clint Eastwood’s McBurney.
The pub will shut down at Oakland Avenue in Shorewood between Kensington and Glendale and a block party will begin at 2 p.m. with live music, Surly brews and grilled food.
Some residents reported that the Chagrin Falls staff is surly and incompetent.
The climber, notable for his sparse lifestyle and surly nature, was also a prolific author of climbing guides and mountain books.
There are bikers, but no fries (don’t ever ask for fries at Bud’s); surly waitresses, but no lettuce.
French voters are in a surly mood, and who can blame them?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surly'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In its very earliest uses in the 16th century, surly meant "majestic" or "lordly." These early meanings make sense when you know that this word is an alteration of Middle English "serreli," which probably comes from "sire, ser," a title formerly used as a form of address for men of rank or authority. So how did a word with such lofty beginnings come to be associated with grumbling rudeness? Arrogant and domineering behavior is sometimes associated with men of rank or position, and "surly" came to mean "haughty" or "imperious." These meanings (which are now obsolete) led to the "rude" sense that is very common today.
Origin and Etymology of surly
alteration of Middle English serreli lordly, imperious, probably from sire, ser sire
First Known Use: 1523See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of surly
SURLY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of surly for English Language Learners
: rude and unfriendly
SURLY Defined for Kids
History for surly
To a noble person it might seem natural to link together high birth and good manners, but the word surly is evidence that other people have not always thought this way. In Middle English the word was spelled sirly, which made more obvious its derivation from sir, the traditional title of respect. Sirly had much the same meaning as lordly does today, that is, “proud, haughty.” Although its meaning has evolved to “rude” or “unfriendly,” surly still refers to a way of acting that is quite the opposite of good-mannered.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up surly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).