Definitions

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

  • adj. Of, like, or befitting a churl; boorish or vulgar.
  • adj. Having a bad disposition; surly: "as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear” ( Shakespeare).
  • adj. Difficult to work with, such as soil; intractable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of or pertaining to a serf, peasant, or rustic
  • adj. rude, surly, ungracious
  • adj. stingy or grudging
  • adj. difficult to till, lacking pliancy; unmanageable

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Like a churl; rude; cross-grained; ungracious; surly; illiberal; niggardly.
  • adj. Wanting pliancy; unmanageable; unyielding; not easily wrought.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Like or pertaining to a churl. Rude; ill-bred; surly; austere; sullen; rough in temper; uncivil.
  • Selfish; narrow-minded; avaricious; niggardly.
  • Hence Of things, unpliant; unyielding; unmanageable.
  • Synonyms Clownish, Loutish, etc. See boorish.

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

  • adj. having a bad disposition; surly
  • adj. rude and boorish

Etymologies

From late Old English cierlisc ("of or pertaining to churls"), from churl +‎ -ish. Meaning "deliberately rude" is late 14c. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Far be it for me to remain churlish in the face of grace.

    A win for Veiled Secrets Reviews — Fusion Despatches

  • The regret has to do with a certain churlish reluctance to share the generally under-appreciated qualities of the lamb neck bone.

    Rillettes II, (The Obsessed) : Lamb

  • In using the word churlish to describe feminist behavior he doesn't like, this non-noble man who is admonishing Twisty, BitchPhD et al. is saying "be weaker," or "be less like men," or "be more like the wives and daughters of highly ranking men."

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • I love the word "churlish" - we need to use it more often!

    Hillary Campaign Emails Out "Electability" Power-Point To All House Dems

  • Lennon and McCartney's decision not to put Harrison's "Not Guilty" on the White Album was not "churlish" - it was sensible, considering how dire it is.

    I read the news today: All Beatle news.

  • I wouldn’t call it churlish (in fact, I had to look up the definition).

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Kagan and Diversity Hiring

  • In gatherings of men, in social life and the interchange of words and deeds, some men are thought to be obsequious, viz. those who to give pleasure praise everything and never oppose, but think it their duty ‘to give no pain to the people they meet’; while those who, on the contrary, oppose everything and care not a whit about giving pain are called churlish and contentious.

    The Nicomachean Ethics

  • In gatherings of men, in social life and the interchange of words and deeds, some men are thought to be obsequious, viz. those who to give pleasure praise everything and never oppose, but think it their duty 'to give no pain to the people they meet'; while those who, on the contrary, oppose everything and care not a whit about giving pain are called churlish and contentious.

    The NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

  • David Cameron is 'churlish' when actually trying to comply with the Courts ruling whilst it was OK for Labour to not do anything?

    Votes for prisoners: Bang to rights | Editorial

  • The words that spring to mind for this week's coverage are 'churlish', 'bitter', 'unfair' and 'one-sided'.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Pippin was this in "Fate And The High King's Falcon" when Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn were taking care of him after he'd been nearly crushed by a troll.

    June 9, 2012

  • Under Worcester the Severn, grown churlish, reflects
    the Cathedral shattered today...

    - Peter Reading, Severn at Worcester, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008