Definition of fractious
- a fractious crowd
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The fractious crowd grew violent.
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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.
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