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sullen

used in a sentence
2 meanings
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1  —as in:
a sullen mood
Definition being unhappy and withdrawn
  • She changed from a happy, outgoing child to sullen teenager.
sullen = unhappy and withdrawn
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • A sullen crowd watched the execution.
  • sullen = unhappy
  • She paused and her face lost its sullenness and grew interested.
    John Steinbeck  --  Of Mice and Men
  • sullenness = appearance of a bad mood
    (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • Peter returned to being sullen, refusing to talk.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear
  • sullen = showing a gloomy or bad mood (often by not interacting with others in a friendly way)
  • Connie's eyes were sullen.
    John Steinbeck  --  The Grapes of Wrath
  • sullen = showing a gloomy or bad mood
  • The retreat was orderly, wet and sullen. In the night, going slowly along the crowded roads we...
    Ernest Hemingway  --  A Farewell to Arms
  • sullen = unhappy (or possibly gloomy or sluggish)
  • But I stood there sullen and silent with my eyes downcast,
    David Almond  --  Kit's Wilderness
  • sullen = showing a gloomy or bad mood
  • I watch Ruby trudge sullenly through the four-o'clock show, and I wonder: What will happen if I fail?
    Katherine Applegate  --  The One and Only Ivan
  • sullenly = unhappily
  • Not a word more would he say, but sat in his implacable sullenness as indifferent to me as though I had not been in the room at all.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • sullenness = state of unhappiness and withdrawal
    (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • One of the three sat with his head down in sullen disgust.
    Elizabeth George Speare  --  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
sullen = unhappy and withdrawn

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
a sullen sky
Definition darkened by clouds; or the color of a gloomy sky
  • The town looked more depressing than normal under the sullen sky.
sullen = darkened by clouds
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • She road off under a sullen sky.
  • sullen = darkened by clouds
  • She looked up at a sullen sky.
  • sullen = darkened by clouds
  • A slight wind picked up and made the trees that grew in sullen clusters along the ridge sway menacingly.
    Walter Dean Myers  --  Fallen Angels
  • sullen = dark (gloomy)
  • Beyond the edge of the fields the sullen haze hung over earth and sky alike.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  The Road
  • sullen = gloomy (dark and unpleasant looking)
  • I see it as a night scene by El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lustreless moon.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • sullen = dark & cloudy
  • The open sky beyond where in the distance the sullen sea lagged and shifted.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  The Road
  • sullen = darkened by clouds
  • A tall gantry crane against the sullen sky.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  The Road
  • sullen = gloomy (without much sunshine)
  • They stood watching the pale gray flakes sift down out of the sullen murk.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  The Road
  • sullen = gloomy (with little sunlight)
  • ...and rivers that poured out of echoing gorges to plunge sullenly into black depths.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Silver Chair
sullenly = in a gloomy manner (darkly)

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
Less commonly:
Sullen can also be used figuratively. For example, "A sullen economic landscape" is one that does not look hopeful.

Exceedingly rarely, sullen can refer to something that moves slowly — as in "a sullen river".
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