- ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper: No one can get along with my ornery cousin.
- stubborn: I can't do a thing with that ornery mule.
- low or vile.
- inferior or common; ordinary.
Origin of ornery
First recorded in 1790–1800; contraction of ordinary
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. mean, ill-tempered, ill-natured, surly, testy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- stubborn or vile-tempered
- low; treacherousan ornery trick
C19: alteration of ordinary
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
Word Origin and History for orneriness
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper