AskDefine | Define surly

Dictionary Definition

surly adj : inclined to anger or bad feelings with overtones of menace; "a surly waiter"; "an ugly frame of mind" [syn: ugly] [also: surliest, surlier]

User Contributed Dictionary



Sixteenth-century alteration of sirly, from sir + -ly.



  1. In an arrogant or supercilious manner.
    • 1623: Against the Capitol I met a lion / Who glazed upon me, and went surly by — William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar I.iii


  1. Lordly, arrogant, supercilious.
  2. Irritated, bad-tempered, unfriendly.
  3. Threatening, menacing, gloomy.
    The surly weather put us all in a bad mood.


  • ttbc French: bourru, maussade, renfrogné

Extensive Definition

Surly is an English word meaning gruff, rude, or ill-tempered. It may also refer to:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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