1. Having a bad disposition; surly: "as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear" (Shakespeare).
2. Archaic Of, like, or befitting a churl; boorish or vulgar.
3. Archaic Difficult to work with; intractable. Used as of soil.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.