frac·​tious ˈfrak-shəs How to pronounce fractious (audio)
: tending to be troublesome : unruly
a fractious crowd
: quarrelsome, irritable
a fractious political campaign
fractiously adverb
fractiousness noun

Did you know?

The Latin verb frangere means "to break or shatter" and is related to a few common words, which is evident in their meanings. Dishes that are fragile 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.

Examples of fractious in a Sentence

The fractious crowd grew violent.
Recent Examples on the Web Gold’s scorching run to an all-time high may seem easy to explain from a distance, given the fractious geopolitical climate and murky outlook for the global economy. Mark Burton, Fortune, 7 Apr. 2024 Trouble is, the populace is restless, the provinces fractious, and the tribes growing - all equally expect patronage to flow their way in return for the Barzanis keeping their grip on power. Melik Kaylan, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 More recently, the always fragmented and fractious political opposition has been hollowed out by arrests of many leading figures on grounds of anti-war agitation. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Mar. 2024 But the failure of DeSantis to sell himself to Republicans as a Trump alternative was one of several flaws that ultimately undermined his presidential campaign, a list that also includes a fractious campaign organization and a notable inability to project warmth on the campaign trail. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 23 Jan. 2024 Chinese shipping cranes are fast becoming the latest item to get caught up in Washington and Beijing’s fractious relationship. Lionel Lim, Fortune Asia, 11 Mar. 2024 Nearly a quarter of Dutch voters chose his party, which won 37 of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, a huge margin by the standards of a fractious party system that rests on consensus and coalition building. Claire Moses, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2024 But a key strategy promoted there – to transform the country into a high-tech powerhouse – was widely seen as part of an urgent bid to safeguard the country in the face of Biden administration technology curbs and a fractious US-China relationship ahead. Simone McCarthy, CNN, 10 Mar. 2024 That will mean many fractious sibling-like conflicts to prove who is strongest behind the wheel within their respective squads. Brad Spurgeon, Robb Report, 7 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fractious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


fract(ion) (in sense "rupture, discord, breach of the peace") + -ious (after captious, factious)

First Known Use

1714, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fractious was in 1714


Dictionary Entries Near fractious

Cite this Entry

“Fractious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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