Definitions

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

  • adj. Marked by sternness or harshness; forbidding: a dour, self-sacrificing life.
  • adj. Silently ill-humored; gloomy: the proverbially dour New England Puritan.
  • adj. Sternly obstinate; unyielding: a dour determination.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Stern, harsh and forbidding.
  • adj. Unyielding and obstinate.
  • adj. Expressing gloom or melancholy; sullenly unhappy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hard; inflexible; obstinate; sour in aspect; hardy; bold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hard; inflexible; obstinate; bold; hardy.

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

  • adj. showing a brooding ill humor
  • adj. harshly uninviting or formidable in manner or appearance
  • adj. stubbornly unyielding

Etymologies

Middle English, possibly from Middle Irish dúr, probably from Latin dūrus, hard; see deru- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dūrus ("hard, stern"), or possibly from Middle Irish dúr. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In previous years, Arsenal were known as a dour, if effective, outfit, masters at eking out a 1-0 victory.

    Arsène Wenger: the blinkered visionary | Observer profile

  • The gray people, as a friend of mine called the dour-looking youths of the downtown arts crowd, stuffed into the room on old folding chairs and splintering benches, everyone stepping carefully amid broken floorboards and keeping one wary eye on the wires and pipes hanging from the ceiling.

    Enemies: A Literary Love Story

  • His sober replacement, Gordon Brown -- a man whose name rarely appears in print without the adjective "dour" -- is already more popular.

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • Don't just pull on your beer-stained jeans and set your scruffy mug on "dour" - show some pizzazz, some pep.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • This straight-faced stand-up comedian became nationally known as the dour, intellectual cop Detective Sergeant Dietrich on Barney Miller, and went on to a long career as a popular supporting comedy player, most recently seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    Tallulah Morehead: Dead Folks 2010: Everyone's Pushing Up Roses

  • Pianist Alexander Melnikov's brilliant new recording should convince any holdouts that Shostakovich's massive 150-minute set is far from what has occasionally been called dour and academic.

    On CD: Melnikov's Shostakovich

  • Incidentally, her character has been described as dour and humourless in the first season of 'Space: 1999', but she became more playful in the second season.

    Archive 2009-06-21

  • Sorry to be dour, which is not my wont, but we are smack in the last quarter of what Murdoch's Wall Street Journal called "a wild year so far," and let me warn you to be happy with what you have -- just like I am.

    Richard Laermer: Get Ready, Kids; Time For Musical Chairs

  • NEW YORK - Wendy's new CEO on Monday called the dour results of the past few years "self-inflicted wounds" and vowed to do better, laying...

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • "Tantawi must go on trial for this," said another man, referring to the dour army commander who stepped in last year to run Egypt when Mubarak was forced out.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph

Comments

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  • don't let the dour
    hit you in the ass

    November 6, 2009

  • I tend to think of WordNet 5 and 6 when this word comes up.

    September 23, 2008

  • It doesn't mean absence of intelligence. Wordnet definitions 3, 5 and 6 are about right.

    September 22, 2008

  • dour means absence of intellegence.Or absence of personality.

    September 22, 2008