Fractious means irritable and quarrelsome, tending to be easily agitated, unruly, or hard to control. It is used to describe people or groups who are often difficult to manage, especially in situations where they feel confined or restricted.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Irritable, testy, quarrelsome, contentious, unruly, difficult, rebellious, unruly, troublesome, recalcitrant, contrary


Calm, placid, cooperative, docile, manageable, obedient

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun fractiousness, fractiousnesses
Verb None
Adjective fractious
Adverb fractiously

Example Sentences

  • The fractious toddler threw a tantrum when his mother wouldn’t let him have a cookie before dinner.

  • The fractious members of the committee argued for hours before finally coming to a compromise.

  • The manager had to deal with a fractious employee who refused to follow company policies.

  • The fractious group of protesters clashed with police and started throwing rocks.


The word “fractious” is derived from the Latin word “frangere,” meaning “to break.” It is often used to describe people who are easily agitated, quarrelsome, or rebellious. Fractious individuals may be difficult to manage, particularly in situations where they feel constrained or restricted.

Fractious can be used to describe a variety of situations, from a fractious toddler who refuses to go to bed to a fractious group of protesters who are demanding change. The word can also be used to describe groups or organizations that are hard to control, such as a fractious political party or a fractious labor union.

Fractious can be used in both formal and informal contexts, and is often used in journalistic writing, particularly when describing political or social unrest. The word has a negative connotation, suggesting that the behavior of the individual or group in question is disruptive and difficult to manage.

Overall, the word “fractious” is a useful term for describing individuals or groups who are difficult to control or manage, particularly in situations where they feel restricted or confined. It is a valuable addition to the vocabulary of anyone who needs to describe such situations accurately and precisely.