Definition of ornery in English:

ornery

adjective

North American
informal
  • Bad-tempered or difficult to deal with:

    ‘an ornery old military man’
    • ‘Who doesn't love the image of the ornery old man shouting, ‘You kids stay out of my yard!’’
    • ‘Hyperactive, troublesome, ornery and just plain prolific… here comes Ryan again and he still means business.’
    • ‘While Spike Lee favourite Davis's deadpan performance as JFK is great, Campbell's portrayal of the ornery old Elvis steals the film.’
    • ‘Most afternoons, it's the two older players who bicker the most, like ornery retirees on a park bench.’
    • ‘‘Aw, come on now, you ornery old sonuvabitch, just one sarsparilla and I'll be out of all your ways,’ Sean laughed and reached for a nearly full glass on the bar.’
    • ‘He's swimming twice a day in his usual morning and evening swim, playing a little golf and going to the office regularly and just being his usual, ornery self.’
    • ‘The gas counter was run by an ornery, old-west character who got his nickname from the vodka cases he stored in a hidden cave across the highway from his filling station.’
    • ‘However, Therese was getting ornery in her old age, and had never done anything according to plan, so it figured that instead of being indifferent, she would want to make her daughter's wedding as much a living hell as possible.’
    • ‘Together, Greg, Jerwon, and Dana helped Zet tackle the ornery Woolyford, which was a difficult thing to do since the ram had the strength of a bear.’
    • ‘This's essential when writing of an artist who has recorded at least three times as much material as he's released and comes across as the most contradictory, ornery, old cuss imaginable.’
    • ‘Just to be ornery, Mike tooted again and the old man shook a fist.’
    • ‘Growling softly at the guard, pretending to be my usual, ornery self and blaming him for the shortness of chain.’
    • ‘From other interviews I'd seen, I knew Jim could make things difficult for me if he was in one of his ornery moods.’
    • ‘Sure, she was an ornery old witch, and maybe I wanted to kill her myself, but I wouldn't have the nerve to actually do it.’
    • ‘During his last lesson of the day, Jerry was finally able to calm down after dealing with an ornery horse buyer who still thinks smoking in a barn is a safe idea.’
    • ‘No word on how officials dealt with this ornery little critter, but judging by the general good temper of both voters and officials, my guess is that they simply made it stand in the corner for the rest of the evening.’
    • ‘Ryo was carrying a worn-out Chava on his back, and Zaila too looked tired and ornery.’
    • ‘But however difficult, however ornery, however discontent with mere beauty the book becomes, it is impossible to resist the unironic joy with which Grossman performs the work of poetry.’
    • ‘I noticed an ornery three year old testing his mother's patience with slaps to the face, and amazingly, bites to the shoulder and arm.’
    • ‘Hernandez lets us see the stubborn and ornery side of this difficult character, rather than making him into some sort of saint.’
    tedious, dull, monotonous
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: variant of ordinary, representing a dialect pronunciation.

Pronunciation:

ornery

/ˈɔːnəri/