What does sullen mean?

Definitions for sullen
ˈsʌl ənsullen

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word sullen.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dark, dour, glowering, glum, moody, morose, saturnine, sour, sullenadjective

    showing a brooding ill humor

    "a dark scowl"; "the proverbially dour New England Puritan"; "a glum, hopeless shrug"; "he sat in moody silence"; "a morose and unsociable manner"; "a saturnine, almost misanthropic young genius"- Bruce Bliven; "a sour temper"; "a sullen crowd"

  2. heavy, lowering, sullen, threateningadjective

    darkened by clouds

    "a heavy sky"


  1. sullenadjective

    Having a brooding ill temper; sulky.

  2. sullenadjective

    Dismal; somber.

  3. sullenadjective

    Sluggish; slow.

  4. Etymology: solein, from solein, from sole), from solus. The change in meaning from "single" to morose occurred in Middle English.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SULLENadjective

    Etymology: Of this word the etymology is obscure.

    Wilmot continued still sullen and perverse, and every day grew more insolent. Edward Hyde.

    A man in a jail is sullen and out of humour at his first coming in. Roger L'Estrange.

    Forc’d by my pride, I my concern suppress’d;
    Pretended drowsiness, and wish of rest;
    And sullen I forsook th’ imperfect feast. Matthew Prior.

    If we sit down sullen and inactive, in expectation that God should do all, we shall find ourselves miserably deceived. John Rogers.

    Such sullen planets at my birth did shine,
    They threaten every fortune mixt with mine. Dryden.

    The sullen fiend her sounding wings display’d,
    Unwilling left the night, and sought the nether shade. Dryd.

    Things are as sullen as we are, and will be what they are, whatever we think of them. John Tillotson, Sermons.

    Why are thine eyes fixt to the sullen earth,
    Gazing at that which seems to dim thy sight? William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    Night with her sullen wings to double shade,
    The desart fowls in their clay nests were couch’d,
    And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam. John Milton.

    A glimpse of moon-shine, streak’d with red;
    A shuffled, sullen, and uncertain light,
    That dances through the clouds, and shuts again. Dryden.

    No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows;
    The dreaded East is all the wind that blows. Alexander Pope.

    Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
    And sullen presage of your own decay. William Shakespeare, K. John.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sullenadjective

    lonely; solitary; desolate

  2. Sullenadjective

    gloomy; dismal; foreboding

  3. Sullenadjective

    mischievous; malignant; unpropitious

  4. Sullenadjective

    gloomily angry and silent; cross; sour; affected with ill humor; morose

  5. Sullenadjective

    obstinate; intractable

  6. Sullenadjective

    heavy; dull; sluggish

  7. Sullennoun

    one who is solitary, or lives alone; a hermit

  8. Sullennoun

    sullen feelings or manners; sulks; moroseness; as, to have the sullens

  9. Sullenverb

    to make sullen or sluggish

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sullen

    sul′en, adj. gloomily angry and silent: malignant, baleful: dark: dull.—adv. Sull′enly.—n. Sull′enness.—n.pl. Sull′ens, sullen fits. [O. Fr. solain—L. solus, alone.]

How to pronounce sullen?

How to say sullen in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sullen in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sullen in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of sullen in a Sentence

  1. Lotte Akiko Nielsen:

    He came across as a sullen, scary and Terminator-ish type.

  2. Claude T. Bissell:

    I prefer complexity to certainty, cheerful mysteries to sullen facts.

  3. Willa Cather:

    Winter lies too long in country towns hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.

  4. Willa Cather, My Antonia:

    Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.

  5. Percy Bysshe Shelley:

    Rough wind, that moanest loudGrief too sad for songWild wind, when sullen cloudKnells all the night longSad storm, whose tears are vain,Bare woods, whose branches strain,Deep caves and dreary main, - Wail, for the world's wrong

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sullen

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for sullen »


Find a translation for the sullen definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these sullen definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "sullen." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Jan. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sullen>.

    Are we missing a good definition for sullen? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    go on board
    • A. moan
    • B. refine
    • C. embark
    • D. conform

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for sullen: