Origin of cantankerousprobably from Middle English contakour, troublemaker ( from Anglo-French from contec, discord) + -ous
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.
- 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 ) ( 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.
- Mad-Eye Moody - The cantankerous auror died during the escape engineered when Harry had to be moved from his aunt and uncle's to the safety of the Weasley's hollow.
- I worked for some British newspapers, but I always seemed to get the boring assignments - "Old man grows enormous turnip - exclusive!" or "Cantankerous old lady sees Messiah on piece of toast."
- Jessie's husband passed away and she moved in with her cantankerous father-in-law Gus (Wilford Brimley).
- The cantankerous old piece of junk.
- Feeding and harnessing the cantankerous mules wasn't exactly the highlight of her day.