Happy National Curmudgeon Day (actually, it was Tuesday), ya jerk. Now get off my lawn.
The word curmudgeon is an old one, originating in the1570s, but where it comes from is unknown. The most famous suggestion, says World Wide Words, “is that of Dr. Samuel Johnson in his Dictionary of 1755 [in which] he quoted an unknown correspondent as suggesting that it came from the French coeur méchant (evil or malicious heart).” However, this is now considered unlikely.
The Online Etymology Dictionary says “the first syllable may be cur ‘dog,’” or that the word may “have been borrowed from Gaelic” — muigean means “disagreeable person” — “with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-,” a slang term “echoic of the sound of the fall of some heavy body.”
An older grouchy word is crab, which comes not from the crustacean but the sour crab apple, which in turn may come from Swedish dialect word skrabba, “fruit of the wild apple-tree,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Crab came to refer to a sour person in the 1570s.
Here, a long list of very grumpy words
PHOTO: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images