adjective, tes·ti·er, tes·ti·est.

irritably impatient; touchy.

Origin of testy

1325–75; late Middle English testi, alteration of Middle French testu headstrong; replacing Middle English testif < Middle French. See test2, -ive
Related formstes·ti·ly, adverbtes·ti·ness, noun

Synonyms for testy

Antonyms for testy

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

Examples from the Web for testy

Contemporary Examples of testy

Historical Examples of testy

  • "That's all right, that's all right," was the testy rejoinder.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • This, reader, is the abode of the testy but extremely dignified Mrs. Swiggs.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • He didn't know it, but she was trying to say she was sorry she had been impatient and testy.

    Sunny Boy in the Big City

    Ramy Allison White

  • She was testy too; but this was owing to the neglect she experienced at the hands of her tribe.


    R.M. Ballantyne

  • He was a testy man, and struck the stone an impatient blow with his staff.

    Richard Carvel, Complete

    Winston Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for testy


adjective -tier or -tiest

irritable or touchy
Derived Formstestily, adverbtestiness, noun

Word Origin for testy

C14: from Anglo-Norman testif headstrong, from Old French teste head, from Late Latin testa skull, from Latin: shell
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 testy

c.1500, "impetuous, rash," from Middle English testif "headstrong" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French testif, Old French testu "stubborn," literally "heady," from teste "head," from Late Latin testa "skull," in classical Latin "pot, shell" (see tester (n.2)). Meaning "easily irritated" is first recorded 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper