Bad-tempered, quarrelsome, or grumpy


US English

UK English

Part of speech



cranky, irritable, surly, grouchy, peevish, ill-tempered


cheerful, happy, pleasant, good-natured, amiable, affable

Example sentences

  • The old man was known for his cantankerous personality, always grumbling and complaining.
  • She was fed up with her cantankerous boss, who was always finding fault and making life difficult.
  • The meeting was disrupted by the cantankerous member, who refused to listen to reason and made a scene.


Cantankerous is used to describe someone who is bad-tempered, quarrelsome, or grumpy. It is often used to describe a person’s personality, demeanor, or attitude, and can be used to describe a general tendency or a specific situation. Cantankerous behavior can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, illness, or a simple lack of patience, and can be directed at others or at the world in general. When used to describe a person, the term cantankerous often implies that the person is difficult to deal with, and that their behavior is likely to cause annoyance or conflict. However, it is important to remember that cantankerous behavior is often a symptom of a deeper issue, and that the root cause should be addressed in order to improve the situation