\ ˈte-chē How to pronounce tetchy (audio) \
tetchier; tetchiest

Definition of tetchy

: irritably or peevishly sensitive : touchy the tetchy manner of two women living in the same house— Elizabeth Taylor †1975

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Other Words from tetchy

tetchily \ ˈte-​chə-​lē How to pronounce tetchily (audio) \ adverb
tetchiness \ ˈte-​chē-​nəs How to pronounce tetchiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tetchy


huffy, thin-skinned, ticklish, touchy



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Did You Know?

Tetchy is a word that may have been coined by Shakespeare - its first known use in English occurs in Romeo and Juliet (1592). Etymologists are not certain how the word came about, but some have suggested that it derives from "tetch," an obsolete noun meaning "habit." The similarity both in meaning and pronunciation to "touchy" might lead you to conclude that "tetchy" is related to that word, but there is no conclusive evidence to suggest such a connection. The adjectives "teched" and tetched, meaning "mentally unbalanced," are variations of "touched," and are probably also unrelated to "tetchy."

Examples of tetchy in a Sentence

a morose and tetchy resident of a nursing home

Recent Examples on the Web

As then, so now: The great redeemer of South Asia’s long, sweltering summer is a reluctant, tetchy traveler. Chandrahas Choudhury, WSJ, "On the Great Indian Mango Trail," 6 July 2018 There are others, among them the welcome return of Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Deadpool’s tetchy neighbor, and the cabbie Dopinder (Karan Soni), yearning for adventure. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Ryan Reynolds takes a comic high dive into 'Deadpool 2'," 14 May 2018 Perhaps a sequel might suggest that Adolf Hitler’s teetotalism put him in a tetchy mood; a relaxing glass of schnapps might have kept him out of Poland. New York Times, "Sloshed, Hammered, Blotto — We’ve Been Doing It for Ages," 30 May 2018 Widely criticised for the unadventurous nature of United's performances for much of this season, Mourinho has been increasingly tetchy of late. Afp, chicagotribune.com, "Mourinho: "People with a brain" understand Man United overhaul," 22 Mar. 2018 But the rail system and its overhead electric catenary wire system - a tetchy tangle of wires dating to 1907 - are anything but pretty. Lynnley Browning, Newsweek, "The Perils of Metro-North," 20 Feb. 2014 North Korea's tetchy relationship with China is driven by its desire not to appear like a satellite state, according to Kelly. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "China and North Korea: Tough Talk Puts Allies ‘at a Crossroads’," 10 May 2017 The men are more problematic: Gere's tetchy exasperation often reads like actorly frustration or boredom, and while Coogan works hard at finding what makes Paul tick, like a time bomb, the effort feels, well, effortful. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'The Dinner' review: Brothers' conflict comes to a boil over lavish meal," 4 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tetchy.' 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 tetchy

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tetchy

perhaps from obsolete tetch habit

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Time Traveler for tetchy

The first known use of tetchy was in 1596

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More Definitions for tetchy



English Language Learners Definition of tetchy

chiefly British : becoming angry or annoyed easily

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More from Merriam-Webster on tetchy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tetchy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tetchy

Nglish: Translation of tetchy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on tetchy

What made you want to look up tetchy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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