Factious vs fractious

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Factious and fractious are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words factious and fractious, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences,

Factious means tending toward dissension, producing partisanship or division. Factious is an adjective, the noun form is faction. Factious is derived from the Latin word factiosus, which means partisan, leaning toward forming political parties.

Fractious means quarrelsome, difficult to control, irritable, hard to handle. Usually, the word fractious is applied to children who are out of sorts. Related words are the adverb fractiously and the noun fractiousness. Interestingly, the word fractious is derived from the word fraction. An obsolete meaning of the word fraction is discord, fighting, quarrelsomeness. This definition of the word fraction is preserved in the word fractious.


In it, he acknowledges, “Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption…betray the interests of the people.” (The La Crosse Tribune)

What’s clear is that as he nears the six-month mark in office, Trump is surrounded by a factious and distrusting staff that is fearful of what actions may have been taken during the wild 2016 campaign. (TIME Magazine)

Due diligence by the GOP House majority would free the President from continual pressure to react against the ruthlessly factious witch hunt the dereliction of the GOP’s House leadership now permits Donald Trump’s most vicious detractors to carry on. (The Daily Caller)

The exchange — a startling break with courtroom decorum — set the tone for a fractious day of questioning as lawyers for 16 of the men continued their fight to convince a judge to throw out the case. (The Circleville Herald)

Some analysts are skeptical that the fractious Republicans are up to comprehensive tax reform, even though the party controls both chambers, and say Republican may have to settle for a handful of tax cuts. (Reuters)