Definition of ornery in English:

ornery

adjective

North American
informal
  • 1Bad-tempered and combative.

    ‘some hogs are just mean 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘Who doesn't love the image of the ornery old man shouting, ‘You kids stay out of my yard!’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Just to be ornery, Mike tooted again and the old man shook a fist.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hyperactive, troublesome, ornery and just plain prolific… here comes Ryan again and he still means business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Growling softly at the guard, pretending to be my usual, ornery self and blaming him for the shortness of chain.’
    • ‘Ryo was carrying a worn-out Chava on his back, and Zaila too looked tired and ornery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most afternoons, it's the two older players who bicker the most, like ornery retirees on a park bench.’
    • ‘Hernandez lets us see the stubborn and ornery side of this difficult character, rather than making him into some sort of saint.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From other interviews I'd seen, I knew Jim could make things difficult for me if he was in one of his ornery moods.’
    • ‘While Spike Lee favourite Davis's deadpan performance as JFK is great, Campbell's portrayal of the ornery old Elvis steals the film.’
    tedious, dull, monotonous
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Stubborn.
      ‘taking the singer's ornery radicalism in a different direction’
      • ‘My guess is that there's going to be some semblance of order, although as you point out, Texans can be, shall we say, an ornery lot sometimes, and may decide that they'll come in when they feel like coming in.’
      • ‘He simply could not, however, be grateful that his father - though quite well-meaning, he was sure - was a stubborn, ornery old man that never gave up.’
      • ‘Sam Cassell is ornery and stubborn but knows how to win.’
      • ‘My hope is that he's too ornery ever to become Establishment.’
      • ‘Look what Cusack's ornery independence has achieved.’
      • ‘When fiscal conservatives balk, only a few thousand ornery Republicans in New Hampshire and Arizona abandon the party.’
      • ‘Most of us are too ornery to admit it and too stubborn to quit, so we have to find ways to pull together to survive.’
      • ‘In the face of modernity, there's a thrill in watching an ornery cuss who clings to the old ways.’
      • ‘As a writer, I needed an online presence for my web content services; and as an ornery, mule-headed, cheapskate writer, I was determined to build it myself in spite of those who said I should leave it to the experts.’
      • ‘Both men, in self-described sentiment, were of ‘the left,’ yet both men infuriated the left with their stinging criticism and ornery independence.’
      • ‘‘Cows can seem ornery if they don't do what we want them to do,’ says Anderson, an ARS animal scientist in Las Cruces, New Mexico.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

ornery

/ˈôrn(ə)rē/