AskDefine | Define curmudgeon

Dictionary Definition

curmudgeon n : a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas

User Contributed Dictionary



While numerous folk etymologies surround this word, there is yet no widely accepted origin.


  • italbrac RP /kɜːˈmʌdʒən/
  • italbrac US /kɚˈmʌdʒən/


  1. : A miser.
  2. An ill-tempered (and frequently old) person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.
    There's a cranky curmudgeon working at the hospital who gives all the patients and other doctors flak.


Extensive Definition

"Curmudgeon" is a song by the American grunge band, Nirvana. It is a B-side on their 1992 single for the song, "Lithium." The same version also appears on a 1992 compilation album called Burning Leaves III: The Third Fall Of DGC, and on the 2004 Nirvana box set, With the Lights Out. A curmudgeon refers usually to an ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions (American Heritage Dictionary) .
The only difference between the two is that the With the Lights Out version is louder and generally more audible, and that Krist Novoselic can be heard laughing on the version from With the Lights Out, which is not present on the Lithium Maxi Single, although oddly there is a space of time at the beginning of the song that contains silence, lasting roughly 6 seconds, the amount of time Krist is lauging for. There is a high chance that this was lost but revived later on the "With the Lights Out" version. Excluding the roughly 4 second long laugh sequence and 3 second long drum beat, both versions of the song are roughly the same length. According to iTunes, Curmudeon is listed as 2:58 for the non-LP version and 3:04 for the With the Lights Out version (although wikipedia.orgs "With the Lights Out" page lists the length as 3:03). The official lengths are are 2:58 for the version on the Lithium Single and 3:04 on the With the Lights Out version, due to the 3 seconds until the end of the drumstick beat in the With the Lights Out version and the absence of "ha"s from Krist in the Lithium Maxi Single. Krist says "ha ha ha ha!" on the With the Lights Out version.
The song was rarely performed live by the band, appearing in select setlists during the autumn 1991 American and European tours, and a final performance at an unannounced gig opening for Mudhoney in October 1992.


curmudgeon in Spanish: Curmudgeon
curmudgeon in Finnish: Curmudgeon
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