refractory or unruly: a fractious animal that would not submit to the harness.
readily angered; peevish; irritable; quarrelsome: an incorrigibly fractious young man.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper