Definition of ornery in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôrn(ə)rē/


North American informal
1Bad-tempered and combative: some hogs are just mean and ornery
More example sentences
  • Ryo was carrying a worn-out Chava on his back, and Zaila too looked tired and ornery.
  • Most afternoons, it's the two older players who bicker the most, like ornery retirees on a park bench.
  • Growling softly at the guard, pretending to be my usual, ornery self and blaming him for the shortness of chain.
1.1Stubborn: taking the singer’s ornery radicalism in a different direction
More example sentences
  • Sam Cassell is ornery and stubborn but knows how to win.
  • He simply could not, however, be grateful that his father - though quite well-meaning, he was sure - was a stubborn, ornery old man that never gave up.
  • Most of us are too ornery to admit it and too stubborn to quit, so we have to find ways to pull together to survive.



Pronunciation: /ˈôrn(ə)rēnəs/
Example sentences
  • Jerry, with rare orneriness, pointed out that Victor had never clearly explained how to navigate.
  • The shorter and colder days are causing a setting-in of impending-winter orneriness around the house.
  • Our own actions, in contrast, are influenced by familial, social, economic, historical, technological and cultural forces - not to mention sheer orneriness and whim.


Early 19th century: variant of ordinary, representing a dialect pronunciation.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: or·ner·y

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