Share this entry
cantankerous Syllabification: can·tan·ker·ous
Pronunciation: /kanˈtaNGk(ə)rəs/

Definition of cantankerous in English:


Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative: a crusty, cantankerous old man
More example sentences
  • When the cantankerous old miller dies of a heart attack, he bequeaths his property to his eldest son, his donkey to the second, and the mill cat to his youngest son Mark.
  • Now we have responsibility for my 88 year old cantankerous maiden aunt who suffers from moderately severe dementia and resides in a rest home.
  • This isn't like the cantankerous old Johnboy we've come to know and loathe, and frankly I find this a bit disturbing, but a welcome change.


Pronunciation: /kanˈtaNGk(ə)rəslē/
Example sentences
  • In the hope of warming up that body, MoMA is now publishing Positif: 50 Years, the first anthology in English of reviews from the cantankerously venerable French journal.
  • On the other hand Bach, despite his cantankerously quarrelsome nature, is seen as a genius superior even to Mozart (a rather futile comparison hardly worth attempting).
  • We didn't exactly run the school, but there were many things that were left to us, and we debated over them cantankerously.
Pronunciation: /kanˈtaNGk(ə)rəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Giving readings was seen as an embarrassment, and generations of German poets were proud to fumble around in sullen cantankerousness.
  • I think modern parents will empathise with him, I really do, if people really listen to this play, but because of his attitude and his cantankerousness he may not get sympathy.
  • It amuses primarily thanks to Newhook, largely because he plays his character with the lightest touch, investing Vallis with a believable cantankerousness.


Mid 18th century: of unknown origin; perhaps a blend of Anglo-Irish cant 'auction' and rancorous (see rancor).

Words that rhyme with cantankerous

cankerous, rancorous
Definition of cantankerous in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources