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Contracted or dialectal pronunciation of ordinary.



ornery (comparative ornerier, superlative orneriest)

  1. (Appalachia) Cantankerous, stubborn, disagreeable.
    • 1922, A. M. Chisholm, A Thousand a Plate
      Seemingly here was an intruder who was violating custom. Moreover, the partners had come to look upon this exceedingly rich district as their exclusive property. And so their indignation was extreme.
      "The low-down, ornery cuss!" said Dobbs. "The nerve of him, crowdin' in on us, just as if there wasn't lots of other places for him to go!"
    • 1990. John Updike, Rabbit at Rest
      “Grandpa, what’s ‘ornery’?” / “Oh, you know. Mean. Contrary. Rebellious.”
    • 1939. From the Script of Stagecoach (1939)
      Curley: "I ain't sayin' I don't share your sentiments, Buck, but you're a born fool. First place Luke would kill the Kid in a gun-fight. Second place if Luke did get shot he's got two brothers just as ornery as he is, and if Ike Plummer didn't kill the Kid then Hank Plummer would."
  2. (humorous, Southern US) Mischievous, prankish, teasing, disagreeable but in a good way.
  3. (obsolete) Commonplace, inferior.

Derived terms[edit]