Word of the Day

Thursday, December 04, 2003


\FRAK-shuhs\ , adjective;
Tending to cause trouble; unruly.
Irritable; snappish; cranky.
In Marshall's case, the experience of dealing with a clamorous band of younger siblings, earning their affection and respect while holding them to their tasks, proved remarkably useful in later years when dealing with fractious colleagues jealous of their prerogatives.
-- Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation
Marcus frequently took a rod to Ambrose's back--with the predictable result of making the boy even more fractious and slow to obey.
-- Roy Morris Jr., Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company
Fractious heirs drink too much and squabble over dock space for their sailboats.
-- Marilyn Stasio, review of Stormy Weather, by Carl Hiaasen, New York Times, September 3, 1995
Fractious is from fraction, which formerly had the sense "discord, dissension, disharmony"; it is derived from Latin frangere, "to break."
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