Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
adj. sur·li·er, sur·li·est
1. Sullenly ill-humored; gruff.
2. Threatening, as of weather conditions; ominous: surly clouds filled the sky.
3. Obsolete Arrogant; domineering.
[Middle English sirly, masterful, lordly, from sir, lord; see sir.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.