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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.]

can·tan′ker·ous·ly adv.
can·tan′ker·ous·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.cantankerously - in a bad mood; "he answered her cantankerously"
References in periodicals archive ?
Here Giardina's accidental theologian is Dillon, a complex character who, among other things, has a long-term romantic obsession with his cousin, breaks the law as necessary, and cantankerously complicates everyone else's life.
But in this instance, the use of the quotation was more likely tactical: secondarily, it was perhaps a diplomatic touch, an effort to keep the Justice from responding cantankerously, as he was known to do; (123) primarily, it was almost certainly a discreet appeal to Frankfurter that he reconsider his view--that "[t]he remedy for unfairness in districting is to secure State legislatures that will apportion properly, or to invoke the ample powers of Congress.
In his memoirs published in 1977, cantankerously titled The Great Betrayal, Rhodesia's last white prime minister, Ian Smith, talks about a report he received, while still prime minister, from Rhodesia's National Security Council, that said the US had been alerted to a "communist plot" to seize "the most richly mineralised parts of the world", including Africa, with 'South Africa as the ultimate target".
Cantankerously Ardrey kept maintaining that "Man is a predator whose natural instinct is to kill with a weapon", as he had asserted in all of four books before (especially in The Territorial Imperative 353).
After winning a majority mandate by cantankerously repeating "separatists and socialists" over and over again, the Harper government has spent its new political capital on trying to discredit "radical" environmentalists, "money-laundering" charities, and "redundant" scientists and academics who would dare ask for well-informed, farsighted decisions.
Played cantankerously by Brian Tree dressed in black doublet and pantaloons striped with gold, a visual reminder of his particular humor, Wasp rants irascibly, stinging people with criticism until he is first put in the stocks and later gets drunk on Ursula's beer.