cantankerous

Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Perhaps derived from earlier contenkerous, from contentious + rancorous.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /kænˈtæŋkəɹəs/, /kənˈtæŋkəɹəs/
  • (file)

AdjectiveEdit

cantankerous ‎(comparative more cantankerous, superlative most cantankerous)

  1. Given to or marked by an ill-tempered nature; ill-tempered, cranky, surly, crabby.
    • 1839, “The youth of Julia Howard”, in Fraser's magazine for town and country, volume 20, page 618:
      "She is a cantankerous old maid," added another, whom I recognised, by his voice, as a man whose attentions I had put a determined check to not six weeks before: "she is a cantankerous old maid, fretting and snarling over the loss of her beauty."
    • 1947, John Courtenay Trewin, Plays of the year, volume 47, page 195:
      I am being cantankerous. Some days I feel so cantankerous I could take a machine-gun into the streets and shoot down the whole population of Hendon Central; I don't know why.
    • 1998, Pauline Chazan, The moral self, page 80:
      By contrast, cantankerous and churlish people are contemptuously independent of others’ opinions, not caring enough about others and their views.
    • 2007, Linda Francis Lee, The Devil in the Junior League, page 44:
      Nina was thrilled, muttering her cantankerous joy that I was getting out of the house.
    • 2010, Clare Vanderpool, Moon Over Manifest, page 169:
      Unfortunately, as Great-Aunt Bert could be a bit cantankerous, they were having to be creative.

Usage notesEdit

Note: Cantankerous is generally used to describe an unpleasant elderly person in a slightly pejorative manner. However, the term can be used to people in general, livestock, and machinery as well.

SynonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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