frac·​tious | \ ˈfrak-shəs \

Definition of fractious

1 : tending to be troublesome : unruly a fractious crowd
2 : quarrelsome, irritable a fractious political campaign

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Other Words from fractious

fractiously adverb
fractiousness noun

Did You Know?

The Latin verb frangere ("to break or shatter") has many modern English relations. Dishes that are "fragile" can break easily. A person whose health is easily broken might be described as "frail." A "fraction" is one of the many pieces into which a whole can be broken. But "fraction" also once meant "disharmony" or "discord" - that is, a "rupture in relations." From this noun sense came the adjective fractious, meaning "unruly" or "quarrelsome." Though the "disharmony" sense of the noun is now obsolete, "fractious" is still common today.

Examples of fractious in a Sentence

The fractious crowd grew violent.

Recent Examples on the Web

The original Virgil brought pride and (a degree of) unity to a fractious and fiercely divided Rome by spinning off an old (originally Greek) tale—The Aeneid—with totally compelling freshness. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "6 Talking Points From the Fall 2019 Menswear Season to Come Inspired by Virgil... (Not the Virgil that You’re Thinking Of)," 3 Jan. 2019 Qualcomm in turn launched a variety of lawsuits against Apple accusing it of violating its IP, which has led to the current fractious situation. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple will pull older iPhones from its German stores after Qualcomm wins partial ban," 20 Dec. 2018 But in fractious Europe, how long do policymakers have? The Economist, "Can refugees help to plug Europe’s skilled-labour gaps?," 14 June 2018 Facebook, a driver of our fractious political debate, can be seen as profiting from the fallout. Casey Newton, The Verge, "One way Twitter’s ad archive improves on Facebook’s," 3 Nov. 2018 Investors have fretted over signs of a slowdown overseas, where fractious European politics and weak Chinese economic data coincide with trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. WSJ, "Dollar Surges Amid Political Turbulence Abroad," 12 Nov. 2018 By remaining flexible, SB 100 created the coalition climate policy so badly needs Climate policy is notoriously fractious, with warring camps fighting over carbon taxes, nuclear power, renewables, and just about everything in between. David Roberts, Vox, "California is this close to its boldest energy target yet: 100% clean electricity," 31 Aug. 2018 Can Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim of the University of Washington save NYC and LA from fractious politics and stopgap solutions? Jay Mathews, Washington Post, "Does the big boss really matter in big-city school districts?," 28 Jan. 2018 So, again, the 1631 campaign went all the way in the other direction, giving up on the chimera of bipartisan cooperation and instead seeking to knit together the fractious left. David Roberts, Vox, "Washington votes no on a carbon tax — again," 6 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fractious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fractious

1714, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fractious

fract(ion) (in sense "rupture, discord, breach of the peace") + -ious (after captious, factious)

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Statistics for fractious

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fractious

The first known use of fractious was in 1714

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More Definitions for fractious



English Language Learners Definition of fractious

: causing trouble : hard to manage or control
: full of anger and disagreement

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More from Merriam-Webster on fractious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fractious

Spanish Central: Translation of fractious

Nglish: Translation of fractious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fractious for Arabic Speakers

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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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