April 21, 2013
sulk (verb)
\SULK\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to be sullenly silent or irritable
How do you use it?
Yolanda's parents refused to turn the car around to retrieve the cell phone she had forgotten at home, so she sulked the entire way to the beach house.
Are you a word wiz?

The verb "sulk" was formed by removing the "y" from the adjective "sulky," which means "being moodily silent." Of the words below, which one do you think was formed in a similar way?

Both "sulk" and "confuse" are back-formations: words formed by taking away a part of an already existing longer word. Like "sulk," the verb "confuse" derived from an adjective. "Confuse" is a back-formation of "confused," which now commonly means "being perplexed or disconcerted," but which meant "frustrated" or "ruined" at the time "confuse" was created from it. Verbs are created by back-formation from words besides adjectives. For example, "gruntle," meaning "to put in a good humor" is a back-formation of the verb "disgruntle," meaning "to make ill-humored or discontented."
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