Jan. 3rd, 2017

ornery

Jan. 3rd, 2017 08:21 am
prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (words are sexy)
Annnd we're back on the air -- this is hit blog KWTD, bringing you the first pretty good word of the new year:


ornery (AWR-nuh-ree) - adj., mean-spirited, cantankerous, or contrary in disposition; stubborn; low or treacherous.


This is an American dialectal contraction from the 1790s of ordinary in the sense of commonplace, taken in the direction of meaning poor quality/coarse/ugly." By around 1860, the sense had evolved to mean/cantankerous. When used with the connotation of stubborn, it can be something of a compliment while still retaining the cantankerous meaning: the "ornery old prospector" might chase you off with a shotgun or simply just not quit looking for gold.

---L.

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