Examples of ornery in a Sentence
Based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit tells the true story of an ornery, undersize, beaten-up Thoroughbred who becomes a champion in the 1930s. —Lev Grossman, Time, 21 July 2003
Critics have compared his work to Faulkner's. And like Faulkner, McCarthy is an acquired taste as well as a palate cleanser. He's a stubborn, ornery writer, known for his ornate sentences, arcane vocabulary, casual disregard for standard punctuation and untranslated bits of foreign dialogue that offer little in the way of a narrative compass to guide readers along. —Sara Mosle, New York Times Book Review, 17 May 1998
Telling her that would have been an invitation to getting my head chopped off, because she was a mean, ornery number until the day she died. —John Gregory Dunne, Harp, 1989
I'm getting more and more ornery in my old age.
an ornery old man who always yells at the neighborhood kids to keep off his lawn
Recent Examples of ornery from the Web
His ornery nature prompted Republican leaders to push him to retire as a senator.
His ornery nature prompted Republican leaders to push him to retire as a senator, but Bunning pushed back.
In the Senate, his ornery nature forced Republican leaders to push him to retire after two terms.
pummel its audience with inspirational uplift: its characters are too inward and ornery for that.
Many residents, in fact, get downright ornery about the possibility of a president—especially a Democratic president—unilaterally placing monument restrictions on huge swaths of their state.
Shriver takes ornery pride in her more contrarian beliefs.
The fans were ornery in the late innings Tuesday, when the Dodgers’ chronically shaky bullpen lost an early lead.
Scots are supposed to be thrifty, freckled, somewhat ornery, and literary.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ornery'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What's the History of ornery?
Readers who are familiar with one of the more common senses of ornery ("irritable") might well be surprised to learn that the word is an alteration of the word ordinary, as this root word has little to do with feelings of peevishness. Yet this is the case, and there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for how this meaning came about.
Ornery was first used in American regional speech in the beginning of the 19th century as a simple variant of ordinary, and for some while it had the same meaning. Soon enough, however, it began to take on some of the more negative aspects of ordinary. It was used to describe things that were common, and especially common things of inferior quality. Next, it developed a sense synonymous with lazy. Those lazy folks dubbed "ornery" were also apparently easily annoyed and touchy. By the end of the 19th century ornery had taken on its now-common meaning of "cantankerous."
Origin and Etymology of ornery
alteration of ordinary
First Known Use: 1816
ORNERY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ornery for English Language Learners
: easily annoyed or angered
: difficult to deal with or control
ORNERY Defined for Kids
Definition of ornery for Students
: becoming angry or annoyed easily
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up ornery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).