9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[frak-shuh s] /ˈfræk ʃəs/
refractory or unruly:
a fractious animal that would not submit to the harness.
readily angered; peevish; irritable; quarrelsome:
an incorrigibly fractious young man.
Origin of fractious
1715-25; fracti(on) + -ous
Related forms
fractiously, adverb
fractiousness, noun
unfractious, adjective
unfractiously, adverb
unfractiousness, noun
Can be confused
factional, factious, fractious.
1. stubborn, difficult. 2. testy, captious, petulant, snappish, pettish, waspish, touchy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fractious
  • As our own fractious moment shows, the world spins, but not always in the same direction.
  • There are two rollicking sailors in this fractious and excellent comedy.
  • He has led this potentially fractious process with great professionalism and evenhandedness.
  • Instead, it has stumbled into fractious internal squabbling.
  • It is far from having a fractious free press or an active civil society.
  • fractious and marginal, they have so far been unable to field a viable candidate for president.
  • His fractious coalition proved impossible to manage.
  • Importantly, their armies also learn to work together, even when relations between their governments occasionally turn fractious.
  • The political culture remains fractious and often violent.
  • Yet the cabinet's decree has united his often fractious opponents and so far failed to achieve its objective.
British Dictionary definitions for fractious


Derived Forms
fractiously, adverb
fractiousness, noun
Usage note
Fractious is sometimes wrongly used where factious is meant: this factious (not fractious) dispute has split the party still further
Word Origin
C18: from (obsolete) fraction discord + -ous
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 fractious

1725, from fraction in an obsolete sense of "a brawling, discord" (c.1500) + -ous; probably on model of captious. Related: Fractiously; fractiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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