- The definition of cantankerous is someone who is bad tempered, grumpy or looking for an argument.
An example of cantankerous is a grumpy old man who lives on your street who is always watching the neighborhood kids to find something to yell at them about.
Origin of cantankerousprobably ; from Middle English contakour, troublemaker (; from Anglo-French ; from contec, discord) + -ous
- Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable: disliked her cantankerous landlord.
- Difficult to handle: “had to use liquid helium, which is supercold, costly and cantankerous” (Brad Pokorny).
Origin of cantankerousPerhaps from Middle English contek, dissension (influenced by such words as rancorous and cankerous), from Anglo-Norman contec, possibly from Latin contāctus, past participle of contingere, to touch; see contact.
(comparative more cantankerous, superlative most cantankerous)
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.