Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Sullenly ill-humored; gruff.
  • adj. Threatening, as of weather conditions; ominous: surly clouds filled the sky.
  • adj. Obsolete Arrogant; domineering.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lordly, arrogant, supercilious.
  • adj. Irritated, bad-tempered, unfriendly.
  • adj. Threatening, menacing, gloomy.
  • adv. In an arrogant or supercilious manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Arrogant; haughty.
  • adj. Gloomily morose; ill-natured, abrupt, and rude; severe; sour; crabbed; rough; sullen; gloomy.
  • adj. Rough; dark; tempestuous.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sour in nature or disposition; morose; crabbed; churlish; ill-natured; cross and rude: as, a surly fellow; a surly dog.
  • Arrogant; haughty.
  • Rough; dark; tempestuous; gloomy; dismal.
  • Synonyms Cross, crusty, snappish, uncivil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. inclined to anger or bad feelings with overtones of menace

Etymologies

Middle English sirly, masterful, lordly, from sir, lord; see sir.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Sixteenth-century alteration of sirly, from sir + -ly. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In no way a cuddly cowboy Woody, Josh Brolin as the title surly supernatural gunslinger is a very different kind of settler dodging bullets across the wild west, or rather deep south, settling old scores and new ones that may not have even arrived,

    NewsBlaze.com Current News - Top Stories

  • Sam swiped his hands through the tight curls on his head, his expression surly.

    Family Blessings

  • * I hadn't spent a considerable amount of time around this team since the summer of 2007, when a certain surly left fielder was taking aim at the all-time home run record, and let's suffice it to say the clubhouse is very different now.

    The surprising San Francisco Giants

  • I called surly strangers in Ohio and hate-filled racists in Pennsylvania,

    THE BROKEN THREAD

  • But no matter what price you get on a firearm, Scott, his unnamed and nasty brother, and certain surly staff members including "Derek" always leaves me with the impression that I was either cheated or manhandled by unwashed hands.

    The Dealer's Take: The Customer is Often Wrong

  • "But no matter what price you get on a firearm, Scott, his unnamed and nasty brother, and certain surly staff members including" Derek "always leaves me with the impression that I was either cheated or manhandled by unwashed hands."

    The Dealer's Take: The Customer is Often Wrong

  • In silence, and with an expression of surly disappointment, Noodles was regretting once more that he and his third wife, Carmen, with whom he was in the throes of a bitter divorce, were no longer on speaking terms.

    Closing Time

  • By ANN LANDI In photographs, Tim Burton looks the part of the goth filmmaker: rumpled and slightly menacing, his grizzled locks untamed, his expression surly behind a barricade of

    WN.com - Articles related to From a House Beautiful

  • A certain surly old littérateur tells me that he prefers these wretched versions to Mr. Payne’s.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Perhaps he should have asked for their patience because he and several of the 24 writers — all of whom participated in a panel at Comic-Con — are going to try it in the upcoming season: Carlos Bernard, aka the surly Tony Almeida, will come back to life.

    Comic-Con: Tony Almeida is back (again!) on '24' | EW.com

Comments

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  • '...I awaken bright and surly.'

    --jorge999

    November 4, 2009

  • Nae.

    December 8, 2007

  • You made that up, didn't you?

    December 8, 2007

  • From sirly in Middle English meaning 'like a lord or a sir'.

    December 8, 2007

  • Spot on!

    December 8, 2007

  • I'm not joking. And stop calling me Surly.

    December 8, 2007

  • Surly in the morning for words like this.

    December 8, 2007

  • As opposed to surely...

    December 8, 2007