Definition of ornery in English:


Syllabification: or·ner·y
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.



More 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.

More definitions of ornery

Definition of ornery in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrə(ʊ)ˈgeɪʃ(ə)n
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space