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adjective, tetch·i·er, tetch·i·est.
  1. irritable; touchy.
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Origin of tetchy

1585–95; origin uncertain; cf. tetched, -y1
Related formstetch·i·ly, adverbtetch·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for tetchy

Historical Examples

  • But Tetchy's berries were unquestionably very superior ones.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 93, July, 1865


  • But one day, when the fruit season was over, my sister was bold enough to invite herself into Tetchy's garden.

  • I often saw the Tetchy girls hoeing and weeding, and have no doubt they performed a very large part of that important labor.

  • That a man of my age should think one thing and say another—like a tetchy girl or a spoilt child!

    The Witch of Prague

    F. Marion Crawford

  • Now come quickly and be careful that you do not cross the King's temper, for it is tetchy to-day.

    The Lady Of Blossholme

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for tetchy


adjective tetchier or tetchiest
  1. being or inclined to be cross, irritable, or touchy
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Derived Formstetchily, adverbtetchiness, noun

Word Origin

C16: probably from obsolete tetch defect, from Old French tache spot, of Germanic origin
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 tetchy


"easily irritated," 1592, teachie, in "Romeo & Juliet" I.iii.32; of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Middle English tatch "a mark, quality," derived via Old French from Vulgar Latin *tecca, from a Germanic source akin to Old English tacen (see token).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper