Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.
1. Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable: disliked her cantankerous landlord.
2. Difficult to handle: "had to use liquid helium, which is supercold, costly and cantankerous" (Brad Pokorny).
[Perhaps from Middle English contek, dissension (influenced by such words as rancorous cankerous), from Anglo-Norman contec, possibly from Latin contāctus, past participle of contingere, to touch; see contact.]
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|Adv.||1.||cantankerously - in a bad mood; "he answered her cantankerously"|