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US 1895. From grouch +‎ -y. Originally US college student slang.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹaʊt͡ʃi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊtʃi


grouchy (comparative grouchier, superlative grouchiest)

  1. (originally university slang) Irritable; easily upset; angry; tending to complain. [From 1895]
    His boss gets grouchy when deadlines draw near.
    • 1911, Jack London, chapter III, in The Abysmal Brute:
      Not that young Pat had a nasty temper, or was grouchy as his father had feared.
    • 1922, Sinclair Lewis, chapter XXXI, in Babbitt:
      He went in to mumble that he was "sorry, didn't mean to be grouchy," and to inquire as to her interest in movies.
    • 1922, Henry William Fischer, “Author's Preface”, in Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field:
      In Berlin I once heard Susie Clemens—ill-fated, talented girl, who died so young—say to her father: "Grouchy again! They do say that you can be funny when company is around—too bad that you don't consider Henry Fisher company."


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  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “grouchy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.