Word: curmudgeon

Pronunciation: kər-MƏ-jən

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: a bad-tempered or surly person

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s another word I learned from studying vocabulary flashcards. We all know someone who tends to be a little grumpier than the rest, oftentimes an older person who has experienced more than their fair share of misfortune in life. Sometimes it’s a family member, sometimes it’s an acquaintance or a stranger, but whatever the case, we’ve all probably had to deal with at least one “curmudgeon” before!

A “curmudgeon” is someone who is unfriendly and/or bad-tempered, usually a person of old age. Interestingly, the origin of the word is unknown, though a few folk etymologies for it exist. All that’s known about the word is that it dates back to the late 16th century (originally spelled “curmudgen”) and has gone through various spellings throughout the 17th century, such as “cormogeon”, “cormudgeon”, and “curmudgin”.

While I don’t encounter the word “curmudgeon” very often, I have seen it used at least once to describe a person who was grumpy and bitter on the surface but lovable deep down. Therefore, I would recommend using “curmudgeon” for someone who may seem difficult at first but who isn’t necessarily a bad person once you get to know them. If you tend to write grumpy or surly characters, especially older ones, you may find the word “curmudgeon” useful for your stories! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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