Ornery is an American word that can sometimes be confusing. We will examine the meaning of the word ornery, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Ornery describes someone who is difficult, someone who does mean things or is ill-tempered or obstinate. An ornery person is not evil, but he is obnoxious. Sometimes, ornery is used in an affectionate manner to mean someone who is mischievous, stubborn or a little naughty, but still loveable. This especially applies when describing children or elderly people. Ornery is often used to describe stubborn animals. The word ornery first appeared in the United States after the turn of the nineteenth century as a variant of the word ordinary. In the beginning, ornery described something that was ugly or plain. By the mid-1800s the term came to mean cantankerous or ill-tempered.


Both have been in short supply during an uneven start for a team that began training camp talking about being special but instead has looked decidedly ordinary, and occasionally ornery. (The Altoona Mirror)

Zimmer tried to be a little more forthcoming Monday about Bradford’s health, a day after some ornery and curt answers only seemed to add more confusion to the situation. (The La Crosse Tribune)

Mom Teresa reports that Russell has turned into quite the attention seeker and his eyes just sparkle with ornery thoughts. (The Licking News)

The black rhino is famed for its ornery disposition and is far more apt to charge at any perceived threat. (The Straits Times)

Seven million subscribe to the Brave Wilderness channel, on which a parade of ornery and venomous animals bite and sting a walking Steve Irwin parody calling himself Coyote Peterson. (OUtside Magazine)


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