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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.cantankerously - in a bad mood; "he answered her cantankerously"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Trillanes good riddance as he is about to leave the hallowed halls of the Senate at the end of June of this year, we will instead wish him luck as he faces another prospect of being placed behind bars again as the self-confessed black propagandist turns against his master, even as his victims look forward to seeing the Senate, or better yet the Government, without the cantankerously obnoxious coup plotter,' Panelo said in a statement Friday night.
It is cantankerously riding and exploiting the US mantra of terrorism against Pakistan and Kashmiris.
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." (124) It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the man responsible for Lewis going to law school and for his chance to cover the Supreme Court was the central antagonist to Lewis' reformist view about reapportionment.
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.