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[krang-kee] /ˈkræŋ ki/
adjective, crankier, crankiest.
ill-tempered; grouchy; cross:
I'm always cranky when I don't get enough sleep.
eccentric; queer.
shaky; unsteady; out of order.
full of bends or windings; crooked.
British Dialect. sickly; in unsound or feeble condition; infirm.
Origin of cranky1
First recorded in 1780-90; crank1 + -y1
Related forms
crankily, adverb
crankiness, noun
1. crotchety, cantankerous, perverse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for crankiness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The test of "crankiness," then, lies in the adequacy of the advantage reaped.

    International Language Walter J. Clark
  • Even Uncle Aaron lost some of his crankiness and seemed at times to be “almost human.”

    The Rushton Boys at Rally Hall

    Spencer Davenport
  • He belonged to C Company, and was a man subject to occasional fits of crankiness.

  • But the legends to which my poor old uncle's crankiness have given rise really begin to get upon my brain.

    The Gateless Barrier Lucas Malet
  • For one and a half years prior to admission her "crankiness" is said to have become much worse.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
  • To attempt to repeat what he said would convict me of crankiness equal to his own, and worse—because he could do it, and I cannot.

    Dariel R. D. Blackmore
  • Etheringham there swears by it, and he's a pretty good judge, in spite of his crankiness.

    A Young Man's Year Anthony Hope
  • Salesmen particularly complained of her crankiness and of the unsatisfactory service they got.

    The Knack of Managing

    Lewis K. Urquhart and Herbert Watson
  • There is no better ballast for keeping the mind steady on its keel, and saving it from all risk of crankiness, than business.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
British Dictionary definitions for crankiness


adjective crankier, crankiest
(informal) eccentric
(mainly US & Canadian, Irish, informal) fussy and bad-tempered
shaky; out of order
full of bends and turns
(dialect) unwell
Derived Forms
crankily, adverb
crankiness, noun


adjective crankier, crankiest
(nautical) another word for crank2
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
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Word Origin and History for crankiness



"cross-tempered, irritable," 1807, from crank (n.) + -y (2). The evolution would be from earlier senses of crank, e.g. "a twist or fanciful turn of speech" (1590s); "inaccessible hole or crevice" (1560s). Grose's 1787 "Provincial Glossary" has "Cranky. Ailing sickly from the dutch crank, sick." and identifies it as a Northern word. Related: Crankily; crankiness.

Ben. Dang it, don't you spare him--A cross grain'd cranky toad as ever crawl'd. (etc.) [Richard Cumberland, "Lovers Resolutions," Act I, 1813]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crankiness



Very irritable; touchy: The baby was cranky all day (1821+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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