[ krang-kee ]
/ ˈkræŋ ki /

adjective, crank·i·er, crank·i·est.

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.

Nearby words

  1. crankle,
  2. crankly,
  3. cranko,
  4. crankpin,
  5. crankshaft,
  6. cranmer,
  7. cranmer, thomas,
  8. crannequin,
  9. crannied,
  10. crannog

Origin of cranky

First recorded in 1780–90; crank1 + -y1

Related formscrank·i·ly, adverbcrank·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crankiness

British Dictionary definitions for crankiness


/ (ˈkræŋkɪ) /

adjective crankier or crankiest

informal eccentric
mainly US, Canadian and Irish informal fussy and bad-tempered
shaky; out of order
full of bends and turns
dialect unwell
Derived Formscrankily, adverbcrankiness, noun


/ (ˈkræŋkɪ) /

adjective crankier or crankiest

nautical another word for crank 2
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 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