frac·​tious | \ ˈfrak-shəs How to pronounce fractious (audio) \

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

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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 His fractious relationship with the business community sheds light on the internal turmoil that buffeted the country in the months before his July 7 death. Ryan Dube, WSJ, 21 July 2021 When Ryan’s estranged father, Frank (Kevin Sorbo), comes back into the picture in season four, wanting to mend their fractious relationship, Sandy is wary, to say the least. Lauren Pinnington, Vulture, 18 June 2021 In his most recent out 33 nights ago, this runner got slightly fractious prior to breaking slowly and getting bumped back by quicker opponents when losing multiple lengths of ground and any early racing momentum. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2021 Other items high on the agenda will hopefully be less fractious, including a new global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%, which foreign ministers agreed to last week, as well as a unified approach to climate change. David A. Andelman, CNN, 11 June 2021 In that outing, Strongly was rather fractious in the gate prior to bobbling outward to lose over a length of ground and his early racing momentum. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2021 But the movement is more fractious, and less focused on electoral politics, than the police unions trying to unseat Krasner. Washington Post, 16 May 2021 The conflict adds complexity to Israel’s fractious politics. Nidal Al-mughrabi And Rami Ayyub, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 May 2021 But the United States continued to invest blood, treasure, and national prestige in a complicated mission to protect the American homeland from further attack and stabilize a fractious country where peace had long been a rarity., 9 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for fractious

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The first known use of fractious was in 1714

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fractious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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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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