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[frak-shuh s] /ˈfræk ʃəs/
refractory or unruly:
a fractious animal that would not submit to the harness.
readily angered; peevish; irritable; quarrelsome:
an incorrigibly fractious young man.
Origin of fractious
First recorded in 1715-25; fracti(on) + -ous
Related forms
fractiously, adverb
fractiousness, noun
unfractious, adjective
unfractiously, adverb
unfractiousness, noun
Can be confused
factional, factious, fractious.
1. stubborn, difficult. 2. testy, captious, petulant, snappish, pettish, waspish, touchy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fractious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Correy mooned around the Arpan sub-base like a fractious child.

    The Terror from the Depths Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • His voice had a fractious tone, as if he combated an unseen tyrant.

    Country Neighbors

    Alice Brown
  • I'll break you to pieces, James H., if you are fractious; and I've got the weapons to do it with.

    A Pessimist Robert Timsol
  • You are old enough to know better, and yet you behave like a fractious child.

    Menhardoc George Manville Fenn
  • There's a tray for each, of course; but a ball dress is such a fractious thing.

    Moods Louisa May Alcott
British Dictionary definitions for fractious


Derived Forms
fractiously, adverb
fractiousness, noun
Usage note
Fractious is sometimes wrongly used where factious is meant: this factious (not fractious) dispute has split the party still further
Word Origin
C18: from (obsolete) fraction discord + -ous
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 fractious

1725, from fraction in an obsolete sense of "a brawling, discord" (c.1500) + -ous; probably on model of captious. Related: Fractiously; fractiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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