Share this entry

Share this page

dour

Line breaks: dour
Pronunciation: /ˈdʊə
 
, ˈdaʊə
 
/

Definition of dour in English:

adjective

Relentlessly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance: a hard, dour, humourless fanatic
More example sentences
  • He looked like a dour, stern man and had a rather ominous air about him.
  • In his dour manner, he stated that he was the foreman of the team, and called over two other men whom he introduced.
  • Dire, dour and disappointing are three which spring instantly to mind.
Synonyms
stern, unsmiling, unfriendly, frowning, poker-faced, severe, forbidding, morose, sour, gruff, surly, uncommunicative, grim, gloomy, dismal, sullen, sombre, grave, sober, serious, solemn, austere, stony, unsympathetic, disapproving

Origin

late Middle English (originally Scots): probably from Scottish Gaelic dúr 'dull, obstinate, stupid', perhaps from Latin durus 'hard'.

Derivatives

dourly

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • Newton himself expressed his thoughts so dourly that students often avoided his lectures at Cambridge, and he spent his time, as one reporter put it, ‘lecturing to the walls’.
  • Clonmel's Minella stayed on dourly through the rain-softened ground to take the Shearwater Handicap ‘Chase.
  • His tinkling take on Karma Police, for instance, calls to mind Mozart's piano concertos, while Everything in Its Right Place, with its bottom-end minor notes, is dourly reminiscent of Shostakovich - and all free of Yorke's watery squall.

dourness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • Combining dourness and humour, sentimentality and hard-headedness, arrogance and tolerance, every situation is redeemed by laughter.
  • Brady's carefully-cultivated air of dismissive dourness offset Giles' sombre demeanour perfectly, as it usually does.
  • Deconstructive dourness never stays put, however, so of course the deconstructive acid seeped over from museum practices to high art itself.

Definition of dour in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day orthoepy
Pronunciation: ˈɔːθəʊɛpi
noun
the correct or accepted pronunciation of words