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

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 movie also nurtures Ismael's fractious but ongoing relationship with Carlotta's father, Henri Bloom (László Szabó), himself a veteran filmmaker who at one point pulls the action toward Tel Aviv and into a consideration of modern Jewish identity. Justin Chang,, "'Ismael's Ghosts' is a messy but vibrant drama from French director Arnaud Desplechin," 5 Apr. 2018 Now, in a more fractious climate, Mr. Miranda is getting ready for his next act. John Leland, New York Times, "Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Next Lion of New York," 16 Feb. 2018 Set in 1929 and ’30, the show captures the jittery throb of Germany’s fragile, fractious but richly creative Weimar era as its brief existence got crushed in the Great Depression and indignant nationalism congealed into Nazism. Daryl H. Miller,, "The world is ending, so come to the 'Cabaret'," 15 June 2018 Some of Sadr’s own lieutenants questioned the move, arguing that political connections and party backing are crucial for getting things done in Iraq’s fractious and corrupt government, but Sadr was adamant. Thanassis Cambanis,, "How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him," 26 May 2018 Congressional approval has become the latest sticking point in the revamp of a trade pact that, after eight months of fractious negotiations, could finally be in reach. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Now comes Merkel. And the hard part.," 26 Apr. 2018 During a 12-hour meeting on Friday, May’s fractious Cabinet — including Davis — finally agreed on a plan for future trade ties with the EU. Jill Lawless,, "UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quits amid mounting Brexit crisis," 9 July 2018 In that meeting, May had appeared to win over her fractious Cabinet and secure approval for her plan, which was to be published as soon as this week in a lengthy White Paper that would stake out Britain's vision for future relations with Europe. Author: William Booth, Karla Adam, Anchorage Daily News, "Theresa May's government in disarray after shock resignation by Brexit minister," 9 July 2018 In that meeting, May had appeared to win over her fractious cabinet and secure approval for her plan, which was to be published as soon as this week in a lengthy White Paper that would stake out Britain’s vision for future relations with Europe. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Boris Johnson and ‘Brexit minister’ resign, leaving Theresa May’s government in disarray," 9 July 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

17 May 2019

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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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Comments on fractious

What made you want to look up fractious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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