- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for ornery on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ornery
The characters you play on the show are extremely diverse—ranging from a cocaine-rattled rich boy to an ornery Jewish grandpa.The Zany Shades of Nick Kroll
December 15, 2014
The budding relationship between the ornery sexagenarian and the precocious young child ultimately gives the film its momentum.Meet Vincent McKenna, Your New Favorite Bill Murray Character
September 6, 2014
He's an ornery cuss kind of Republican, extremely critical of Bush and Cheney back in the day.Rice Out? And Hagel to Defense?
December 13, 2012
Conard, the ornery lone researcher and writer, demands more of himself.David's Book Club: Unintended Consequences
July 3, 2012
She was irritable and ornery almost all of the time, and she seemed to be trying to distance herself from the others.Inside Tania Head’s Terrible 9/11 Lie: ‘The Woman Who Wasn’t There’
Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr.
April 6, 2012
It certainly is the home camp of some of the most ornery reptiles, that a-way!Faro Nell and Her Friends
Alfred Henry Lewis
To 'n ornery gentleman—of the road or what you will—I'm not, if so be he's the necessary.Romance
Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
They're little an' young an' they ain't never done nothin' ornery.The Gold Girl
James B. Hendryx
The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about as ornery.Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Complete
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
He ain't no ornery, bloomin' skipper, nor Calamity ain't his name.Captain Calamity
- stubborn or vile-tempered
- low; treacherousan ornery trick
Word Origin and History for ornery
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.