I hauled it over here with four of the orneriest mules that ever flapped an ear at white men.
But this little thing is the orneriest critter I ever run across.
We're bleedin' an' dyin' an' bein' captured by the orneriest villains outside o' hell—as the feller says.
It was the trial trip of the orneriest excuse for a car man ever invented.
And the orneriest little spider knows enough to play dead if you poke him.
It disgusted Tom Sawyer, and he said it was the orneriest, low-downest thing he ever heard of.
An' didn't he bring in four of the orneriest cusses that ever lived when they busted the Hart River cache?
Yer the orneriest ostrich fur a man of yer keerful eddication!
1816, American English dialectal contraction of ordinary (adj.). "Commonplace," hence "of poor quality, coarse, ugly." By c.1860 the sense had evolved to "mean, cantankerous." Related: Orneriness.
Mean and irascible; ill-tempered: He wasconfident and ornery on the mound
[1816+; fr a dialect pronunciation of ordinary]