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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ a sulky frown
▪ On the drive home, Maria was sulky and said very little.
▪ William was a sulky little boy who seemed to care for nothing except his video games.
▪ But if Nelson Lord was right-no wonder they were sulky, staying away from home as much as they could.
▪ In church they kept to their own groups, but here they jostled shoulder to shoulder, watchful and sulky.
▪ The big bird squatted quietly against Rima's chest, but her eyes held a sulky, defiant glare.
▪ The girls looked a little less sulky and stared at the two townees.
▪ These phases should be short and not involve the parent being sulky for half a day.
▪ With sulky faces, the students turned to go.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sulky \Sulk"y\, a. [Compar. Sulkier; superl. Sulkiest.] [See Sulkiness, and cf. Sulky, n.] Moodly silent; sullen; sour; obstinate; morose; splenetic.

Syn: See Sullen.


Sulky \Sulk"y\, n.; pl. Sulkies. [From Sulky, a.; -- so called from the owner's desire of riding alone.] A light two-wheeled carriage for a single person.

Note: Sulky is used adjectively in the names of several agricultural machines drawn by horses to denote that the machine is provided with wheels and a seat for the driver; as, sulky plow; sulky harrow; sulky rake, etc.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"quietly sullen," 1744, of uncertain origin. Connection has been suggested to obsolete, rare sulke "hard to sell" (1630s) and to Old English asolcen "idle, lazy, slow," past participle adjective from aseolcan "become sluggish, be weak or idle" (related to besylcan "be languid"), from Proto-Germanic *seklan (cognates: Middle High German selken "to drop, fall"). But words of similar meaning often are held to be imitative (compare miff, mope, boudoir). Related: Sulkily; sulkiness.


"light carriage with two wheels," 1756, apparently a noun use of sulky (adj.), on notion of "standoffishness," because the carriage has room for only one person and obliges the rider to be alone.


a. (label en often derogatory) silent and withdrawn after being upset n. 1 A low two-wheeled cart, used in harness racing. 2 Any carriage seating only the driver.

  1. adj. sullen or moody [syn: huffish]

  2. n. a light two-wheeled vehicle for one person; drawn by one horse

  3. [also: sulkiest, sulkier]


A sulky is a lightweight cart having two wheels and a seat for the driver only but usually without a body, generally pulled by horses or dogs, and is used for harness races. The term is also used for a light stroller, an arch mounted on wheels or crawler tracks and used in logging, or other types of vehicle having wheels and usually a seat for the driver, such as a plough, lister or cultivator.

Usage examples of "sulky".

The other members of the flock had forgiven him for the rancorous and sulky spirit which had made him refuse to catch in the ball-game against Hartford, in which Buck Badger had pitched, but they had not forgotten it.

A dreadful silence reigned for four or five minutes, but the canoness began to utter witticisms which I took up and communicated to my neighbours, so that in a short time the whole table was in good spirits except the general, who preserved a sulky silence.

She knew that he did his best, but freemartins were inclined to be snappish, sulky, and short-tempered.

I liked the reply, but the cursed breeches had so offended me that I became quite sulky.

Just what she needednot one, but two hulky, sulky vampires hounding her every move and reminding her to eat every five seconds.

Wild as the birds in the sun-drenched trees, their children skulked shyly behind the sulky wheels or scuttled for the protection of the woodheap while their parents yarned over cups of tea, swapped tall stories and books, promised to pass on vague messages to Hoopiron Collins or Brumby Waters, and told the fan tastic tale of the Pommy jackaroo on Gnarlunga.

Paks was pleased to see that Jenits no longer looked sulky, just thoughtful.

It was Saturday, universal shopping-day in the farmland, and a ramshackle line of rustic vehicles--buggies, democrats, sulkies, lumber wagons--with graceless plough horses slumbering in the thills, stretched in ragged alignment down the curb.

The sulky dogs would rather have three twists of a rack, or the thumbikins for an hour, than pay out a denier for their own feudal father and liege lord.

Alliance for Progress thing is a toughie, because most of the hard-nose opposition to it is sulky and silent.

We then moved forward, Musqueeto taking, or seeming to take little notice of us, and retaining his usual sulky, stupid look.

He made Ranter seem like a sulky child, although they were the same age.

But for the next hour or so Shairn was inclined to be sulky, and was all the more so because Trehearne seemed to have forgotten her existence.

Pain Russtif was using the prod on the other side of the tent wall, using it with the skill of a trained showman to stir up a sulky or frightened beast.

Some notorious carpers and squeamish moralists might be sulky with Lord Steyne, but they were glad enough to come when he asked them.