One entry found for surly
Main Entry: sur·ly
Inflected Form(s): sur·li·er
Etymology: Middle English serreli
"lordly, imperious," from sir
"a man of rank"
having a rude unfriendly disposition
- sur·li·ness nounWord History
The word surly,
which describes someone with a very bad temper, was at one time spelled sirly.
It comes from the familiar word sir,
which has been used for centuries as a title of respect for a gentleman or nobleman. Sirly
was originally used to describe a person who behaves in a very proud way -- the kind of person who might insist on being called "sir." It was similar in meaning to the word lordly.
Many years of use brought about the changes in spelling and in meaning that have given us the modern word surly.
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