cantankerous was our Word of the Day on 01/15/2017. Hear the podcast!
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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
- 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
- … it's something ultimately more memorable: a self-portrait of a coolly cantankerous woman, reformed but unrepentant. —David Gates, New York Times Book Review, 21 Nov. 1999
- 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
a cantankerous old woman who insisted that nothing should ever be allowed to change
Recent Examples of cantankerous from the Web
Millie ends up with her cantankerous writer neighbor Obie (Daniel Craig), looking for her younger boys, while her older son, Jesse (Lamar Johnson), sets off on his own.
Frank Black’s lyrics were brainy and deranged, literate and surrealist, which made Kim — with her knowing daffiness, like indie rock’s Lucille Ball — an irresistible foil for a bandmate who was one of rock’s most enjoyably cantankerous geniuses.
With his long, bushy hair and his cantankerous on-field demeanor, Jensen became a popular figure with the fans and his toughness and work ethic won over his teammates.
The story of how Buffalo went from buffaloes to bulls is one that involves a skull, a cantankerous live mascot named Buster and a legendary visit from Elizabeth Taylor.
The Extraordinary Efforts of a Real-Life Scientist In the new film Extraordinary Measures, a lone, cantankerous scientist, played by Harrison Ford, works day and night over the course of a few years to find a cure for a rare genetic disease.
His often-cantankerous presence was sorely missed in the auction room.
The reader’s experience is rather like being trapped in a cab with a cantankerous and over-opinionated driver.
That fixed the symptom, but this was just the beginning of a long, cantankerous journey to uncover the cause.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cantankerous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Origin of cantankerous Is Mysterious
It's irritating, but we're not absolutely sure where "cantankerous" comes from. Etymologists think it probably derived from the Middle English word contack (or "contek"), which meant "contention" or "strife." Their idea is that "cantankerous" may have started out as "contackerous" but was later modified as a result of association or confusion with "rancorous" (meaning "spiteful") and "cankerous" (which describes something that spreads corruption of the mind or spirit). Considering that a cantankerous person generally has the spite associated with "contack" and "rancor," and the noxious and sometimes painful effects of a "canker," that theory seems plausible. What we can say with conviction is that "cantankerous" has been used in English since at least the late 1700s.
CANTANKEROUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cantankerous for English Language Learners
: often angry and annoyed
CANTANKEROUS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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