Boy, has the meaning of this word changed!

Nowadays, "curmudgeon" is used exclusively to mean an opinionated old fart who is angry that young people don't value the things he/she does. A curmudgeon usually has a grim, pessimistic vision of the future and his fellow man.

Famous historical curmudgeons:

Hesiod
Socrates
Jonathan Swift
Richard Francis Burton
H. L. Mencken

The most famous curmudgeon today is probably Andy Rooney.

Cur*mudg"eon (k?r-m?j"?n), n. [OE. cornmudgin, where -mudgin is prob. from OF. muchier, mucier, F. musser to hide; of uncertain origin; cf. OE. muchares skulking thieves, E. miche, micher.]

An avaricious, grasping fellow; a miser; a niggard; a churl.

A gray-headed curmudgeon of a negro. W. Irving.

 

© Webster 1913.

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