Definition of tetchy
- the tetchy manner of two women living in the same house
- —Elizabeth Taylor †1975
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a morose and tetchy resident of a nursing home
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.
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."
First Known Use: 1596See Words from the same year
: becoming angry or annoyed easily
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