Burly vs Surly - What's the difference?

burly | surly |

As adjectives the difference between burly and surly

is that burly is (usually|of a man) large, well-built, and muscular while surly is (obsolete) lordly, arrogant, supercilious.

As an adverb surly is

(obsolete) in an arrogant or supercilious manner.



Alternative forms

* (l) (dialectal)


  • (usually, of a man) Large, well-built, and muscular.
  • He's a big, burly rugby player who works as a landscape gardener.
  • *
  • She was frankly disappointed. For some reason she had thought to discover a burglar of one or another accepted type—either a dashing cracksman in full-blown evening dress, lithe, polished, pantherish, or a common yegg, a red-eyed, unshaven burly brute in the rags and tatters of a tramp.
  • (slang) Originating from the east end of London, England. An expressive term to mean something is good, awesome, amazing, unbelievable. e.g That goal was burly, or Räikkönen is a burly Formula 1 driver.
  • (slang) Originating from surfer culture and/or Southern California. An expressive term to mean something is of large magnitude, either good or bad, and sometimes both.
  • That wave was burly ! (i.e. large, dangerous and difficult to ride)
    This hike is going to be burly , but worth it because there is good body surfing at that beach.




  • (obsolete) Lordly, arrogant, supercilious.
  • Irritated, bad-tempered, unfriendly.
  • Threatening, menacing, gloomy.
  • The surly weather put us all in a bad mood.


  • (obsolete) In an arrogant or supercilious manner.
  • * 1623 , , Julius Caesar , I.iii,
  • Against the Capitol I met a lion / Who glazed upon me, and went surly