Adjective "Sullen" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Bad-tempered and sulky.
  1. 'I shrink into myself and become sullen and uncommunicative.'
  2. 'Bolton itself also belied any clichéd image of drab northern towns under sullen skies.'
  3. 'Soon enough, though, I'd had enough of walking, the sky grew more and more sullen, and the temperature dropped.'
  4. 'It squats at the bottom of the pail like a sullen garden toad, refusing to budge.'
  5. 'She's childish, sullen, moody and volatile, prone to outbursts of jealousy, weeping, rage and laughter.'
  6. 'He leans back and crosses his hands over his chest, a sullen expression on his lean, sculpted face.'
  7. 'Boscaini manages to say this entirely convincingly under a sullen, grey sky in Dublin.'
  8. 'Or do you picture them caked in mud, bodies swarming with lice, marching in sullen silence?'
  9. 'A couple of tourists are sitting in a brasserie on the Boulevard-St-Germain and their waiter is sullen, slow and brings the wrong order.'
  10. 'If I do that, it will make him sullen and resentful and unmotivated to control his desire to hit when he is angry.'
  11. 'a sullen sunless sky'


A sulky or depressed mood.
  1. 'When I mentioned this, he lapsed back into the sullens.'


1. showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or reserve.

2. persistently and silently ill-humored; morose.

3. indicative of gloomy ill humor.

4. gloomy or dismal, as weather or a sound.

5. sluggish, as a stream.

6. Obsolete. malignant, as planets or influences.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be sullen with people."

"people can be sullen with drapers."

"people can be sullen to bouts."

"people can be sullen for hours."

"people can be sullen beyond beliefs."

More examples++


Middle English (in the senses ‘solitary, averse to company’, and ‘unusual’): from Anglo-Norman French sulein, from sol ‘sole’.