adjective, or·ner·i·er, or·ner·i·est. Dialect.
ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper: No one can get along with my ornery cousin.
stubborn: I can't do a thing with that ornery mule.
low or vile.
inferior or common; ordinary.
Origin of ornery
First recorded in 1790–1800; contraction of ordinary
Synonyms for ornery
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for ornerinesslawlessness, recalcitrance, fractiousness, refractoriness, imprudence, obstinacy, perverseness, recklessness, intractability, assertiveness, wildness, rebelliousness, willfulness, impetuousness, impulsiveness, obstreperousness, revenge, spite, malevolence, meanness
adjective US and Canadian dialect, or informal
stubborn or vile-tempered
low; treacherousan ornery trick
Word Origin for ornery
C19: alteration of ordinary
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
1816, American English dialectal contraction of ordinary (adj.). "Commonplace," hence "of poor quality, coarse, ugly." By c.1860 the sense had evolved to "mean, cantankerous." Related: Orneriness.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper