Definitions

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

  • adj. Inclined to make trouble; unruly.
  • adj. Having a peevish nature; cranky.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. given to troublemaking
  • adj. irritable; argumentative; quarrelsome

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Apt to break out into a passion; apt to scold; cross; snappish; ugly; unruly

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Apt to quarrel; cross; snappish; peevish; fretful; rebellious: as, a fractious child; a fractious temper.

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

  • adj. easily irritated or annoyed
  • adj. unpredictably difficult in operation; likely to be troublesome
  • adj. stubbornly resistant to authority or control

Etymologies

From fraction, discord (obsolete).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
fraction (“discord, (now obsolete)”) +‎ -ous (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • There's an old joke about university faculty politics: the reason it gets so bitter and fractious is because there is so little at stake.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • I must say that the most enlightened thing you said in your post was, in an odd analogy, that the reason university faculty politics become so bitter and fractious is because there is "... so little at stake," That´s it precisely.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • "The same qualities that enabled her to unify what some described as a fractious campus will serve the nation, and the Constitution, well."

    NYT > Home Page

  • As a child myself, growing up in what would charitably be called a fractious household, Mr. Rogers consoled me on the hard stuff I was starting to learn.

    Linda Keenan: How Do I Tell Frank Mr. Rogers Is Dead?

  • During what was described as a 'fractious' meeting, MPs criticised Brown for making his announcement on a YouTube broadcast last Tuesday without any reference to them.

    Gordon Brown, Charlie Whelan and Me

  • We do believe that the future of politics will be a future of substance, and a vote for Hillary is a continued support of the kind of fractious politics we've endured for the last several decades.

    knowledge is good

  • If we've just seen the substitution of one individual for the other, but the policy remains the same, then we're likely to see the same kind of fractious distribute on Capitol Hill, the same kind of disillusion out in the country.

    CNN Transcript Dec 6, 2006

  • And obviously Bush does not want the kind of fractious convention that Ridge's nomination as VP would present.

    CNN Transcript - CNN Late Edition: Bob Dole Discusses Campaign 2000; Pat Buchanan Talks About His Bid for the Reform Party Nomination - July 2, 2000

  • Tom was "fractious," as Roxy called it, and overbearing; Chambers was meek and docile.

    Pudd'nhead Wilson

  • Final could politely be described as 'fractious', the Dutch side must have wondered what they'd walked into and the game was held up while the Argentineans complained about a plaster cast on one of the Dutch players arms.

    Public Address

Comments

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  • (esp. of children) easily upset and angered, often due to tiredness

    August 15, 2008