Definition of fractious in US English:



  • 1(typically of children) irritable and quarrelsome.

    ‘they fight and squabble like fractious children’
    • ‘People with pain can be fractious and difficult, and elderly people may not be paragons of charm and cheerfulness.’
    • ‘The youngest children get fractious and older family members get irritable trying to keep the peace.’
    • ‘Suffice to say, I would not recommend this level of preparation when travelling with a fractious three-year-old and a grumpy husband.’
    • ‘A whirlwind start set the tone for the game: the exchanges were hard and physical and there were some fractious moments as tempers flared in the struggle for superiority.’
    • ‘Two horses were approaching from the high, barren hills; the man in front was having difficulty controlling his fractious horse with one hand.’
    • ‘And I'm usually alright in the morning but by about lunchtime in the afternoon I tend to get very irritable and fractious and I'm not quite sure why.’
    • ‘And the actors were fractious and the crew was muttering.’
    • ‘He was getting fractious and crabby while I was getting panicky because I knew there was something else and I couldn't remember what it was.’
    • ‘The management is difficult, the people get pretty fractious, and it starts feeling like the early years when one is in Opposition.’
    grumpy, grouchy, crotchety, in a mood, in a bad mood, cantankerous, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, ill-natured, ill-humoured, peevish, having got out of bed the wrong side, cross, as cross as two sticks, disagreeable, pettish
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    1. 1.1 (of a group or organization) difficult to control; unruly.
      ‘the fractious coalition of Social Democrats’
      • ‘After going backwards at the election and losing ground in opinion polls since, Opposition MPs are cranky, fractious and looking for answers.’
      • ‘For all the region's fractious history, its transformation of the range from battle ground to recreation area occurred surprisingly early.’
      • ‘They are, however, extraordinarily difficult to discipline, incredibly fractious.’
      • ‘For 110 years, it has remained a fractious but unitary organization.’
      • ‘He was chosen for his ability to unite the fractious coalition and for his ability to connect to people.’
      • ‘One potential course would be a breakdown of central control and a return to fractious regionalism.’
      • ‘An already fractious situation has just got more difficult.’
      • ‘That is no way to govern, especially when he heads a fractious coalition and his party holds just 11% of the seats in Parliament.’
      • ‘A system without it could lead to division and multiple parties - and imagine the fractious problem of coalition governments.’
      • ‘Thus all the world's ambition gets funnelled through schools, turning academia into fractious circuses of human conflict and desperately competing agendas.’
      wayward, unruly, uncontrollable, unmanageable, out of hand, obstreperous, difficult, headstrong, refractory, recalcitrant, intractable
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Late 17th century: from fraction, probably on the pattern of the pair faction, factious.