Definition of fractious in US English:



  • 1(typically of children) irritable and quarrelsome.

    ‘they fight and squabble like fractious children’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The youngest children get fractious and older family members get irritable trying to keep the peace.’
    • ‘Two horses were approaching from the high, barren hills; the man in front was having difficulty controlling his fractious horse with one hand.’
    • ‘People with pain can be fractious and difficult, and elderly people may not be paragons of charm and cheerfulness.’
    • ‘Suffice to say, I would not recommend this level of preparation when travelling with a fractious three-year-old and a grumpy husband.’
    • ‘And the actors were fractious and the crew was muttering.’
    • ‘The management is difficult, the people get pretty fractious, and it starts feeling like the early years when one is in Opposition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 110 years, it has remained a fractious but unitary organization.’
      • ‘A system without it could lead to division and multiple parties - and imagine the fractious problem of coalition governments.’
      • ‘He was chosen for his ability to unite the fractious coalition and for his ability to connect to people.’
      • ‘An already fractious situation has just got more difficult.’
      • ‘One potential course would be a breakdown of central control and a return to fractious regionalism.’
      • ‘That is no way to govern, especially when he heads a fractious coalition and his party holds just 11% of the seats in Parliament.’
      • ‘For all the region's fractious history, its transformation of the range from battle ground to recreation area occurred surprisingly early.’
      • ‘Thus all the world's ambition gets funnelled through schools, turning academia into fractious circuses of human conflict and desperately competing agendas.’
      • ‘They are, however, extraordinarily difficult to discipline, incredibly fractious.’
      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.