Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Mean-spirited, disagreeable, and contrary in disposition; cantankerous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Cantankerous, stubborn, disagreeable.
  • adj. Mischievous, prankish, teasing, disagreeable but in a good way.
  • adj. Commonplace, inferior.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Ordinary; common; mean; coarse; ugly: a term of depreciation, ranging from mild disapproval to great contempt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having a difficult and contrary disposition

Etymologies

Alteration of ordinary.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Contracted or dialectal pronunciation of ordinary. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He especially liked the way it called the ornery cloud Fatso.

    Up In A Heaval

  • Lady Macbeth says: Wouldst thou have that Which thou call the ornery of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem,

    Kill Ten Rats

  • She says the word "ornery" more than it should be used, and when she tells her dog to get down off the couch, the word "down" has a strong, country twang to it.

    Scott Janssen: Chic-fil-A Ruined My Relationship

  • He turns out to be Finn Killian someone she'd met and thought "old and kind of ornery" at 21 but now finds mesmerizing.

    East Egg, Meet Southampton

  • They are kind of ornery and independent up there, too.

    Another Poll Finds Obama Leading In Historically-Red Virginia

  • Gelb, lead singer of the band Giant Sand, and Oldham, from Palace Brothers, are the kind of ornery characters that country music never seems to know what to do with.

    Cheatin' Hearts, Flannel Shirts

  • And I have two cats and they ` re kind of ornery, and they ` re able to open the back door, so ...

    CNN Transcript Dec 20, 2007

  • But he also struck me a the kind of chap who didn't suffer fools gladly - what the Americans would call an 'ornery' and 'cussed' type.

    UK Commentators

  • Bloomsbury, became Raleigh, and the state capital, he found it necessary to build an "ornery" for the accommodation of strangers; this building stood upon Hillsborough Street, and was torn down only a short time ago.

    Plantation Sketches

  • In a word, why don't you go off somewhere and die, and not be always trying to seduce people into becoming as "ornery" and unlovable as you are yourselves, by your villainous "moral statistics"?

    Sketches New And Old

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