Word of the Day

Today’s word of the Day is:

adjective kan-TANK-uh-rus

What It Means

cantankerous person is often angry and annoyed. Cantankerous also means “difficult or irritating to deal with.”

Example: Several sportswriters cited the coach’s cantankerous personality as a reason for the team’s poor performance and lack of motivation.

Other Words from cantankerous

cantankerously adverb

cantankerousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms

Synonyms

  • acid, 
  • bearish, 
  • bilious, 
  • bloody-minded
  • disagreeable, 
  • dyspeptic, 
  • ill-humored, 
  • ill-natured, 
  • ill-tempered, 
  • ornery, 
  • splenetic, 
  • surly

Antonyms

  • amiable, 
  • good-humored, 
  • good-natured, 
  • good-tempered

The Origin of Cantankerous Is Mysterious

Cantankerous people are cranky: they’re grumpy and angry and if we think charitably about them for a moment we might consider that they possibly suffer from a health affliction that sours the mood. It’s been speculated that cantankerous is a product of the Middle English contack, meaning “contention,” under the influence of a pair of words: rancorous and cankerous. Rancorous brings the anger and “bitter deep-seated ill will” (as rancor can be understood to mean). And cankerous brings the perhaps understandable foul mood: a cankerous person suffers from painful sores—that is, cankers.

Examples of cantankerous in a Sentence

Contemporaries often found him aloof, standoffish, and cantankerous and his mannerisms and diction inscrutable.

Jonathan Spence, New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 2009

In his last years, Harriman was the kind of cantankerous old man who once berated a financial planner by threatening to make him sit in the corner and wear a dunce cap.

Bryan Burrough, Vanity Fair, January 1995

There are those who contend the hockey maven is a cantankerous old coot—rife with unpopular opinions and quick to assert them

Rick Harrison, Newsday, 19 Sept. 2004

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