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See more synonyms for fractious on Thesaurus.com
  1. refractory or unruly: a fractious animal that would not submit to the harness.
  2. readily angered; peevish; irritable; quarrelsome: an incorrigibly fractious young man.
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Origin of fractious

First recorded in 1715–25; fracti(on) + -ous
Related formsfrac·tious·ly, adverbfrac·tious·ness, nounun·frac·tious, adjectiveun·frac·tious·ly, adverbun·frac·tious·ness, noun
Can be confusedfactional factious fractious

Synonyms for fractious

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fractious

testy, unruly, recalcitrant, irritable, unmanageable, restive, awkward, captious, crabby, disorderly, fretful, froward, huffy, indomitable, intractable, mean, ornery, peevish, perverse, petulant

Examples from the Web for fractious

Contemporary Examples of fractious

Historical Examples of fractious

  • Correy mooned around the Arpan sub-base like a fractious child.

    The Terror from the Depths

    Sewell Peaslee Wright

  • His voice had a fractious tone, as if he combated an unseen tyrant.

  • I'll break you to pieces, James H., if you are fractious; and I've got the weapons to do it with.

    A Pessimist

    Robert Timsol

  • You are old enough to know better, and yet you behave like a fractious child.


    George Manville Fenn

  • There's a tray for each, of course; but a ball dress is such a fractious thing.


    Louisa May Alcott

British Dictionary definitions for fractious


  1. irritable
  2. unruly
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Derived Formsfractiously, adverbfractiousness, noun

Word Origin for fractious

C18: from (obsolete) fraction discord + -ous


Fractious is sometimes wrongly used where factious is meant: this factious (not fractious) dispute has split the party still further
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 fractious


1725, from fraction in an obsolete sense of "a brawling, discord" (c.1500) + -ous; probably on model of captious. Related: Fractiously; fractiousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper