Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

cantankerous

[kan-tang-ker-uh s] /kænˈtæŋ kər əs/
adjective
1.
disagreeable to deal with; contentious; peevish:
a cantankerous, argumentative man.
Origin of cantankerous
1765-1775
1765-75; perhaps variant of earlier *contenkerous, reflecting contentious, rancorous
Related forms
cantankerously, adverb
cantankerousness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cantankerous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Well, of all cantankerous cranks he is the worst," he would say with a sigh.

  • Don't be cantankerous, and don't be subtle, because I've been bathing.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • They were the most cantankerous, persistent race you can imagine.

    Be It Ever Thus Robert Moore Williams
  • You must have thought me cantankerous, and so I have been sometimes, but always by conviction and on principle.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • It's no wonder he drinks, hitched up to a cantankerous old hyena like that.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
British Dictionary definitions for cantankerous

cantankerous

/kænˈtæŋkərəs/
adjective
1.
quarrelsome; irascible
Derived Forms
cantankerously, adverb
cantankerousness, noun
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from C14 (obsolete) conteckour a contentious person, from conteck strife, from Anglo-French contek, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cantankerous
adj.

1772, said to be "a Wiltshire word," probably from an alteration (influenced by raucous) of Middle English contakour "troublemaker" (c.1300), from Anglo-French contec "discord, strife," from Old French contechier (Old North French contekier), from con- "with" + teche, related to atachier "hold fast" (see attach). With -ous. Related: Cantankerously; cantankerousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for cantankerous

Word Value for cantankerous

18
22
Scrabble Words With Friends