[kan-tang-ker-uh s]


disagreeable to deal with; contentious; peevish: a cantankerous, argumentative man.

Nearby words

  1. cantabrigian,
  2. cantal,
  3. cantala,
  4. cantalever,
  5. cantaloupe,
  6. cantar,
  7. cantata,
  8. cantatrice,
  9. canteen,
  10. canteen culture

Origin of cantankerous

1765–75; perhaps variant of earlier *contenkerous, reflecting contentious, rancorous

Related formscan·tan·ker·ous·ly, adverbcan·tan·ker·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cantankerous

British Dictionary definitions for cantankerous



quarrelsome; irascible
Derived Formscantankerously, adverbcantankerousness, noun

Word Origin for cantankerous

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

Word Origin and History for cantankerous



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