Definition of fractious
- a fractious crowd
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The fractious crowd grew violent.
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.
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.
What made you want to look up fractious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to cause to suffer severely from hunger
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