Definition of cranky in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkraŋki/

adjective (crankier, crankiest)

1British informal Eccentric or strange: a cranky scheme to pipe ground-level ozone into the stratosphere
More example sentences
  • In life he was regarded as an awkward customer, a cranky, eccentric figure with a talent for rubbing people up the wrong way.
  • The administrators are cranky and making the strangest decisions.
  • We're not this weird, cranky, fanged minority that is secretly drinking blood in the name of its depraved godlessness!
eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-centre, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrous;
mad, insane, crazy, absurd
informal wacky, screwy, nutty, nuts, crackpot, cracked, oddball, kinky, off the wall, way out, dippy, cuckoo
British informal daft
North American informal kooky, wacko, left-field
Australian/New Zealand informal, dated dilly
2chiefly North American Bad-tempered; irritable: he was cranky after eight hours of working
More example sentences
  • This lack of rest has caused a radical shift in my personality, making me cranky, irritable, and prone to curse loudly at the slightest provocation.
  • Do you find yourself irritable and cranky, taking out your anxiety and frustration on those you love?
  • These individuals are emotionally robust despite their shy demeanour, and they have high standards for themselves, which is why they can seem cranky and irritable.
3(Of a machine) working erratically: after a juddering landing the cranky plane eased up the runway
More example sentences
  • He would have had to spend many hours with expensive and cranky machinery in order to make phonetic measurements to correlate with listener judgments.
  • The old, cranky generator breaks down with an annoying frequency, severing us from the computer and studio lights.
  • The engine, cranky, rusty, out-of-practice, whirred to life. The entire vehicle began to shake, violently at first, then settling.



Example sentences
  • Kassy shook her head crankily, ‘It's nothing!’
  • I remembered our argument and frowned crankily.
  • I crankily pulled out my emergency credit card.


Example sentences
  • As a person ages, the signs of depression are much more likely to be dismissed as crankiness or grumpiness.
  • The fact that she knows hormones are causing her temporary crankiness doesn't make the feelings any less real, so cut her some slack.
  • If you cut back, your body shows signs of caffeine withdrawal, like headaches, crankiness and sleepiness.


Late 18th century (in the sense 'sickly, in poor health'): perhaps from obsolete (counterfeit) crank 'a rogue feigning sickness', from Dutch or German krank 'sick'.

Words that rhyme with cranky

Frankie, hanky, hanky-panky, lanky, manky, swanky, Yankee

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cranky

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