Adjective "Surly" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Bad-tempered and unfriendly.
  1. 'After a while a sunny day strikes you as slightly idiotic, and you need a nice surly day to keep you balanced.'
  2. 'Some that have met him have found him temperamental and surly.'
  3. 'Marjorie Campbell plays a sour and surly chambermaid that scores laughs galore.'
  4. 'Then they came to confiscate the film but balked because the soundman looked huge and surly.'
  5. 'Possibly affected by the adulation, he became more surly and confused.'
  6. 'When I first got him, he was a surly little puppy who could stand in my two hands.'
  7. 'The two youngest seemed somewhat surly for a good portion of the day, and I don't know what was going on.'
  8. 'Customer service on this flight was indifferent rather than the usual surly.'
  9. 'He walks around being very surly and is very much a figure of hate.'
  10. 'There was no clearer indication of this aggressive new stance than the surly attitude taken towards Germany.'


1. churlishly rude or bad-tempered: a surly waiter.Synonyms: sullen, uncivil, brusque, irascible, splenetic, choleric, cross; grumpy, grouchy, crabby.

2. unfriendly or hostile; menacingly irritable: a surly old lion.Synonyms: threatening, malevolent.

3. dark or dismal; menacing; threatening: a surly sky.Synonyms: ominous.

4. Obsolete. lordly; arrogant.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be surly as wives."

"people can be surly about lifts."

"people can be surly about disposals."

"people can be surly."

"attitudes can be surly."

More examples++


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘lordly, haughty, arrogant’): alteration of obsolete sirly (see sir, -ly).