Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Fractious

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is fractious. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Fractious means “troublesome,” “unruly,” “quarrelsome,” or “irritable.”

// The political party is more organized and coherent and less fractious.

FRACTIOUS in Context

“The game became fractious, heavy tackles flying in, players squaring up to each other. The hostility spread.” — Luke Edwards, The Daily Telegraph (London), 4 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

The Latin verb frangere means “to break or shatter” and is related to a few common words, which is evident in their meanings. Dishes that are fragile break easily. A person whose health is easily broken might be described as frail. A fraction is one of the many pieces into which a whole can be broken. But fraction also once meant “disharmony” or “discord”—that is, a “rupture in relations.” From this noun sense came the adjective fractious.

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