Cantankerous Definition

Bad-tempered; quarrelsome.
Webster's New World
Difficult to handle.
American Heritage
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.
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.

Origin of Cantankerous

  • Perhaps 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 contact

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Perhaps derived from earlier contenkerous, from contentious + rancorous.

    From Wiktionary

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