2 : marked by a lack of civility or graciousness : surly
3 : difficult to work with or deal with : intractable
Did You Know?
It is easy to understand how churlish has come to mean "vulgar," "surly," and "intractable"—if you know your English history. In Anglo-Saxon England, a churl, or ceorl, was a freeman of the lowest rank who owned and cultivated a small farm. He had certain rights and had upward mobility to rise to the rank of thane. After the Norman Conquest, however, many churls became serfs, a change in status that meant losing not just social mobility but geographical mobility as well. The lowest rungs of a social system often serve as inspiration for a language's pejoratives, and churl eventually came to be used as a term for a rude, ill-bred person.
"After welcoming me to my upstairs suite, Doug announces that it's time for guests to enjoy a complimentary mint julep and cheese plate, an offer that would be churlish to turn down." — Paul Oswell, The Atlanta Magazine, 16 May 2019
"The playlist for Slater's documentary is so chockablock with great songs that it may seem churlish to complain about the lack of this golden-oldie or that one." — Joe Leydon, Variety, 22 May 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Antonym
Fill in the blanks to complete an antonym of churlish: c _ _ th.VIEW THE ANSWER
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