- 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.
Origin of cranky1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for cranky on Thesaurus.com
Origin of cranky2
Examples from the Web for cranky
After a day-long drive with three young children, we emerged from our minivan cramped, cranky, and dusty with junk food.Disney World Means Everything to a Special Needs Mom
July 17, 2014
Even today—contrary to cranky public opinion—the political influence of multigenerational families is weak and getting weaker.Can We Divorce Our Elites?
April 13, 2014
They seem, in fact, like cranky, petulant children, coked to the gills.Stacks: Hitting the Note with the Allman Brothers Band
March 15, 2014
In a din of cranky, snarky, jaded, and occasionally even lazy late-night talk show hosts, he radiates pure joy.
Jonathan Freedland reviews a new biography of the cranky German socialist in the New York Times.Karl Marx, Nudnik
April 1, 2013
But he hasn't got no use for any of the guys that gets a cranky play in on him; he won't stand it.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
He always was stubborn as an off ox and cranky as a windlass.The Depot Master
Joseph C. Lincoln
He's as straight and square and honest as he is obstinate and cranky.The Rise of Roscoe Paine
Joseph C. Lincoln
And if you think Ferdinand's the man to give in to a cranky Khedive, you're much mistaken.The Great Hunger
He had been given only a mild shock, but it had been enough for his fluttery, cranky heart.Watchbird
- informal eccentric
- mainly US, Canadian and Irish informal fussy and bad-tempered
- shaky; out of order
- full of bends and turns
- dialect unwell
- nautical another word for crank 2
Word Origin and History for cranky
"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]