Definition of churl in English:



  • 1An impolite and mean-spirited person.

    • ‘Fans of studio politics everywhere understand that while Harvey's a boor, Bob is merely churlish, and boors hardly ever stand down for churls.’
    • ‘She proudly talked of herself as the one who set the bones in his nose, and said she had been waiting to see what churl hurt him without reason.’
    • ‘Dalglish, throughout, behaved admirably and only churls later questioned his decision to quit Anfield.’
    • ‘Only a churl would deny anyone the consolation of hope.’
    • ‘The nation's professional churl had finally been forced to button his lip.’
    • ‘Only a churl would refuse to acknowledge the president's success in crafting national unity out of catastrophe, and even liberals have been obliged to pay tribute.’
    • ‘The first thing he did was holler, ‘Quiet down you churls!’’
    • ‘I tell the bar girl to fetch him the good stuff from the small casks, not the maroon vinegar we serve the churls, then sit next to him.’
    • ‘I hated him before, but now the miserable churl only has my most profound pity!’
    • ‘He regularly behaves like a churl with the media and elicits mixed feelings inside his own clubhouse.’
    • ‘It is, in fact, an exceptionally charming story, and even hard-hearted churls will find themselves smiling with beatific indulgence by the end of it.’
    • ‘‘Only a churl would deny anyone the consolation of hope,’ writes Philip Kennicott in The Washington Post.’
    • ‘It is one of the great unsolved contradictions in life that a people so universally helpful, friendly and cheerful should turn into churls when at the wheel of a tractor.’
    • ‘He seems to delight in being a churl, but his disrespectful comments about Babe Ruth demonstrated his ignorance of baseball history.’
    • ‘I jarred him awake and made my apologies to her before dragging the very intoxicated churl into his room.’
    • ‘Only a churl would wish to detract from the inspired performances of competitors in cycling, swimming and gymnastics.’
    lout, boor, barbarian, neanderthal, clown, gawk, hulk, bumpkin, yokel
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    1. 1.1archaic A miser.
      • ‘Is he a classless churl or an American standard bearer?’
      • ‘When a few words will rescue misery out of her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.’
    2. 1.2archaic A person of low birth; a peasant.
      • ‘If I may, Lord, who is the churl you drag with you?’
      • ‘The good yeomen and thespians who put on the River City Shakespeare Festival are in need of a few knaves, churls, gentlemen and gentlewomen to volunteer as well.’
      • ‘Not since the days when a churl suffered extravagant penalties for offending a Norman lord have we seen such disparities of treatment within our justice system.’
      farmer, farmhand, country dweller, country cousin, son of the soil
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Old English ceorl, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kerel and German Kerl ‘fellow’, also to carl.