From Middle English churlysshe, cherlissh, from late Old English ċeorlisċ, ċierlisċ (of or pertaining to churls), equivalent to churl +‎ -ish.



churlish (comparative more churlish, superlative most churlish)

  1. Of or pertaining to a serf, peasant, or rustic.
    • 1996, Jeet Heer, Gravitas, Autumn 1996
      [...] the eloquence and truth of his tribute stands in marked contrast to Kramer's churlish caricature of Kael as a happy pig wallowing in the dirt.
    Synonym: rustic
  2. Rude, surly, ungracious. [from late 14th c.]
    Synonyms: cross-grained, rude, surly, ungracious
  3. Stingy or grudging.
    Synonyms: grudging, illiberal, miserly, niggardly, stingy
  4. (of soil) Difficult to till, lacking pliancy; unmanageable.
    • 1730–1774, Oliver Goldsmith, Introductory to Switzerland
      Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
      And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.

Related termsEdit