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  • IPA(key): /sʌlk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌlk

Etymology 1[edit]

Back-formation from sulky, of uncertain origin. Probably from Middle English *sulke, *solke (attested in solcenesse (idleness; laziness), from Old English āsolcennys (idleness; slothfulness; sluggishness; laziness), from āsolcen (sulky, languid), from past participle of Old English āseolcan (be slow; be weak or slothful; languish), from Proto-Germanic *selkaną (to fall in drops; dribble; droop), from Proto-Indo-European *sélǵ-o-nom, from *selǵ- (to let go, send). Cognate with several Indo-Iranian words deriving from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sarȷ́-[1] (such as Sanskrit सृजति (sṛjáti), सर्जति (sarjati), सर्जन (sárjana), सृक (sṛká)), possibly Hittite 𒊭𒀠𒀝𒍣 (ša-al-ak-zi /⁠šalkzi⁠/, knead, mix), although the semantic connection is weak.[2]


sulk (third-person singular simple present sulks, present participle sulking, simple past and past participle sulked)

  1. (intransitive) To express ill humor or offence by remaining sullenly silent or withdrawn.
Usage notes[edit]

Not to be confused with skulk.

Related terms[edit]


sulk (plural sulks)

  1. A state of sulking.
    • 1986, John le Carré, A Perfect Spy:
      He thanks our miserable Liberal agent, an unbeliever called Donald Somebody, see the caption, who since the court's arrival on his territory has retired into a fuming sulk from which he has only tonight emerged.
    • 2012, Harriet S. Caswell, Walter Harland Or, Memories of the Past, tredition, →ISBN:
      " [] home during the holidays," said the Doctor with a good-humoured laugh, "but a fit of the sulks is no very uncommon thing for him;" and then he added, []
    Leo has been in a sulk all morning.
  2. (in the plural, preceded by definite article) A fit of sulking; a sulking mood.
    • 1918, Norman Lindsay, The Magic Pudding, page 82:
      The Puddin', who had got the sulks over Sam's remark that fifteen goes of steak and kidney were enough for any self-respecting man, protested against the singing, which, he said, disturbed his gravy.
  3. A person who sulks
    Don't be such a sulk, Leo!


  1. ^ Cheung, Johnny (2007) “*harz-”, in Etymological Dictionary of the Iranian Verb (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 2), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN
  2. ^ Kloekhorst, Alwin (2008) “šalk-zi”, in Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 5), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 821

Etymology 2[edit]

Latin sulcus.


sulk (plural sulks)

  1. A furrow.