Gloomy or sullen in disposition or appearance; severe


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



dreary, gloomy, morose, somber, sullen


cheerful, happy, jovial, joyful, sunny

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective dour
Adverb dourly

Example Sentences

  • The dour expression on his face made it clear that he was in no mood for conversation.

  • Despite the festivities, she remained dour and unresponsive, as if burdened by a deep sadness.

  • The dour atmosphere in the room was palpable, as everyone seemed to be lost in their own thoughts.

  • His dour personality made it difficult for others to approach him, as he rarely showed any signs of warmth or friendliness.


The word “dour” is an adjective that is used to describe someone’s demeanor or expression as stern, gloomy, or forbidding. Its origin can be traced back to the Old English word “dūr,” which means “hard” or “severe.” The term “dour” has evolved over time to convey a sense of seriousness or a lack of warmth in one’s character or appearance.

The usage of “dour” often suggests an individual who is unsmiling, unapproachable, or lacking in cheerfulness. It can be used to describe a person’s facial expression, indicating a somber or forbidding look. Additionally, it can describe someone’s personality or demeanor, suggesting a serious, reserved, or taciturn nature.

The word “dour” does not have any specific prefix, suffix, or root, but it stands on its own to convey its particular meaning. Its concise and straightforward form captures the essence of its definition.

While “dour” generally carries a negative connotation, it is important to note that it can also reflect a person’s stoic strength or seriousness of purpose. Some individuals may have a naturally reserved or serious disposition that should not be automatically interpreted as negative or unkind.

Understanding the history and usage of “dour” reminds us of the diversity of human expressions and personalities. It encourages empathy and the recognition that not everyone’s outward demeanor reflects their inner character or intentions.