verb (used without object)

  1. to be sulky or morose; show discontent; complain, especially in an irritable way.


  1. a sulky, complaining, or morose person.
  2. a sulky, irritable, or morose mood.

verb (intr)

  1. to complain; grumble


  1. a complaint, esp a persistent one
  2. a person who is always grumbling

“ill-tempered person,” 1896, earlier “state of irritable glumness” (1890, in expressions such as to have a grouch on), U.S. college student slang, of uncertain origin, possibly from grutching “complaint, grumbling” (see grutch).

The Grouch, on the other Hand, gave a correct Imitation of a Bear with a Sore Toe. His Conversation was largely made up of Grunts. He carried a Facial Expression that frightened little Children in Street Cars and took all the Starch out of sentimental Young Ladies. He seemed perpetually to carry the Hoof-Marks of a horrible Nightmare. [George Ade, “People You Know,” 1902]

The verb is 1916, from the noun. Related: Grouched; grouching. Grouch bag “purse for carrying hidden money” (1908) is the source of the nickname of U.S. comedian Julius “Groucho” Marx (1890-1977), who supposedly carried his money in one to poker games.

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