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Word of the Day
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Definitions for cantankerous

  1. disagreeable to deal with; contentious; peevish: a cantankerous, argumentative man.

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Citations for cantankerous
Yes, Thomas, you are an extremely cantankerous man to work with--I know that to my cost. You disregard everything that you ought to have consideration for. Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, translated by R. Farquharson Sharp, 1911
Lily Tomlin shines as the cantankerous, combative, brutally frank poet Elle Reid, now fallen into literary silence after the death of her partner of thirty-eight years. Richard Brody, "Movies: Grandma," The New Yorker, August 24, 2015
Origin of cantankerous
Cantankerous sounds as apt in sound and meaning as honk or boom. One earlier spelling of the word is contankerous, which suggests its development from Middle English contak, conteke “quarrel, disagreement,” from which are formed contecker, contekour “one who causes dissension.” An unattested adjective conteckerous, contakerous could have been formed on the models of traitorous or rancorous or contentious. Cantankerous entered English in the 18th century.