9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tes-tee] /ˈtɛs ti/
adjective, testier, testiest.
irritably impatient; touchy.
Origin of testy
late Middle English
1325-75; late Middle English testi, alteration of Middle French testu headstrong; replacing Middle English testif < Middle French. See test2, -ive
Related forms
testily, adverb
testiness, noun
tetchy, edgy, snappish, cross, irascible. See irritable.
composed. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for testy
  • Unstable weather patterns can play havoc with food production, and hungry people tend to get pretty testy.
  • Until that moment he had been intensely focused on the crisis and had been steady, although testy and combative.
  • The choice was meant to soothe her party's bigwigs, with whom she has a sometimes testy relationship.
  • We have one customer with whom our relationship, though not vitriolic, is testy or chippy.
  • His insistence on dredging up the past made her testy.
  • The surveys indicate that the judge's demeanor is sometimes impatient, testy, rude and arrogant.
  • After the employer hung up on claimant, a testy exchange of text messages ensued.
  • And so that was a little bit testy for me to try to wade through that particular case.
British Dictionary definitions for testy


adjective -tier, -tiest
irritable or touchy
Derived Forms
testily, adverb
testiness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-Norman testif headstrong, from Old French teste head, from Late Latin testa skull, from Latin: shell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for testy

c.1500, "impetuous, rash," from Middle English testif "headstrong" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French testif, Old French testu "stubborn," literally "heady," from teste "head," from Late Latin testa "skull," in classical Latin "pot, shell" (see tester (n.2)). Meaning "easily irritated" is first recorded 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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