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 America’s traditional partners in Europe, meanwhile, were fractious and inward-looking. Elbridge Colby, National Review, "A Republican Foreign Policy," 5 Dec. 2019 The final game of the series was never played as the fractious Middle Eastern nation’s interior minister, in an apparent attempt to aid his own team, ordered that the game be postponed. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside makes the most of warm welcome in Portland, undeterred by obstacles or doubters," 16 Dec. 2019 On the other side, today’s and tomorrow’s union, a larger, more diverse and more political bloc facing greater pressures from the outside requiring common action, and that therefore is at once more fractious and more ambitious. The Economist, "Neither dignified nor efficient," 24 Oct. 2019 Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who has close links to Tehran, has offered to quit but only once fractious political parties agree on a successor. Caroline Alexander | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why Iraqis Are Taking Aim at Their Leaders and Iran’s," 29 Nov. 2019 Her failure to give the address marks a sharp deterioration of Hong Kong’s already fractious politics. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kong Leader's Annual Policy Speech Adjourned After Rowdy Lawmakers Disrupt Proceedings," 16 Oct. 2019 Herbert Chitepo’s March 1975 assassination (which got many of Zanu’s leaders arrested and its army kicked out of Zambia) was only one marker of the many fissures in the fractious party that by 1980 would rule Zimbabwe. David B. Moore, Quartz Africa, "The many failures and betrayals of Robert Mugabe to his people," 7 Sep. 2019 The League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement have nominally governed since last year in an increasingly fractious populist coalition. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today: Trump’s familiar gun control retreat," 21 Aug. 2019 The junior partners in Merkel’s fractious coalition, the Social Democrats, question the 2 percent spending target., "New German defense minister backs higher military spending," 24 July 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of fractious was in 1714

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fractious.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fractious


How to pronounce fractious (audio)

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).


to insert between existing elements

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