Definition of uncouth
uncouth was our Word of the Day on 01/24/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of uncouth in a Sentence
People thought he was uncouth and uncivilized.
will not tolerate any uncouth behavior, such as eating with one's mouth open
Recent Examples of uncouth from the Web
The diesel provides torque-rich thrust and decent fuel economy but at the expense of some shaking on startup and uncouth vibration at higher revs.
In private, Egyptian officials like to complain about arrogant and uncouth Saudis.
The water tankers embody the market’s brawny, uncouth response to Bangalore’s public failure.
Several critics blamed the uncouth crowd in attendance; others wrote it off as lighthearted amusement.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'uncouth'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
History of uncouth: From Unfamiliar to Outlandish
Uncouth comes from the Old English word uncūth, which joins the prefix un- with cūth, meaning "familiar" or "known." How did a word that meant "unfamiliar" come to mean "outlandish," "rugged," or "rude"? Some examples from literature illustrate that the transition happened quite naturally. In Captain Singleton, Daniel Defoe refers to "a strange noise more uncouth than any they had ever heard." In William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Orlando tells Adam, "If this uncouth forest yield anything savage, I will either be food for it or bring it for food to thee." In Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane fears "to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!" So, that which is unfamiliar is often perceived as strange, wild, or unpleasant. Meanings such as "outlandish," "rugged," or "rude" naturally follow.
UNCOUTH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of uncouth for English Language Learners
: behaving in a rude way : not polite or socially acceptable
UNCOUTH Defined for Kids
History for uncouth
The word uncouth first meant “unknown” or “strange.” It goes back to Old English uncūth, made up of un-, “not,” and cūth, “known,” which is related to modern English can and know.
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