: having an irritable disposition : cantankerous
- 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
: difficult to deal with or control
- … once made word processors so ornery that they caused secretaries to collapse in tears …
- — Bro Uttal
- … a bout with walking pneumonia and an ornery case of poison oak.
- — Paul Francis
: having or showing a playful tendency to cause trouble : mischievous
- It had been fun to play a trick on those ornery boys. They were not bad boys: just wild things full of vim and vinegar who were trying to fill their time and show off.
- — Connie Leonard Geron
- … invited me to come take pictures at a little family tradition they have … A shaving cream war. They have a large family; so there were tons of kids of all ages there. I think what I loved most about this was the fact that the adults got just as ornery as the kids.
- — Rebecca Haines