• WordNet 3.6
    • adj ornery having a difficult and contrary disposition "a cantankerous and venomous-tongued old lady"- Dorothy Sayers"
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • ornery Ordinary; common; mean; coarse; ugly: a term of depreciation, ranging from mild disapproval to great contempt.
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  • Mark Twain
    “All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way they're raised.”


In literature:

Now pore little Dinah found she had to have all her wits about her to keep Love near, an' make that ornery Slap-back stay away.
"Jewel's Story Book" by Clara Louise Burnham
I never knowed there was so many ornery words bedded down in that there book.
"The Ridin' Kid from Powder River" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
They's a bunch of ornery-lookin' guys trailin' us.
"The Trail Horde" by Charles Alden Seltzer
Thet makes an ornery combination.
"Beth Norvell" by Randall Parrish
There may be a look in if those ornery rustlers don't quit fooling with our cattle.
"Bert Wilson in the Rockies" by J. W. Duffield
I'll take care of the ornery jaspers until you get your hand in.
"Under Handicap" by Jackson Gregory
Me get out of the way fer an ornery brown bear!
"Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories" by Florence Finch Kelly
And Green Valley folks are ornery enough on top and when things are going smoothly for you.
"Green Valley" by Katharine Reynolds
You may profess well enough, Mister Professor, but you're a pretty ornery example o' practisin'.
"The Boy With the U. S. Foresters" by Francis Rolt-Wheeler
The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about as ornery.
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
That ain't no ornery mule, Billy Dillingham ain't.
"Dorothy on a House Boat" by Evelyn Raymond
That ornery beast will be all ready to charge me the first time he sees me afoot.
"The Orphan" by Clarence E. Mulford
A-course, the parson 'd no more'n stopped, when out comes that ornery purp of Dutchy's.
"Alec Lloyd, Cowpuncher" by Eleanor Gates
Big Bob's got some ornery trick 'n 'is head.
"The Graysons" by Edward Eggleston
These ornery housekeepers, you know, have to be babied.
"Nan Sherwood on the Mexican Border" by Annie Roe Carr
And when he appears here, then I'll bend his ornery will into the right way of seeing things.
"The Homesteader" by Oscar Micheaux
He ain't no ornery, bloomin' skipper, nor Calamity ain't his name.
"Captain Calamity" by Rolf Bennett
Even his sellin' your ma that jumpin' cow was a low-down, ornery trick.
"Dorothy at Skyrie" by Evelyn Raymond
Besides, there being such a heap o' ornery thievin' ones, the bunnits might get mixed or done away with if laid off'n.
"Poppea of the Post-Office" by Mabel Osgood Wright
Think you own the whole cattle country jest 'cause you herd a few ornery, pink-eyed, slab-sided critters for your salt?
"Langford of the Three Bars" by Kate Boyles

In poetry:

Sold! Why, you limb,
You ornery,
Derned old
Long-legged Jim.
"Jim" by Francis Bret Harte

In news:

The Basques , in their taciturn, ornery way, have shown an astonishing staying power.
From a chemical standpoint, carbohydrates are ornery critters.
John Seyfried Michael Davis, right, as the ornery Bonafede, savors the possibility of life on the moon as Kayleigh Decker and Perri DiChristina look on in the Oberlin Opera Theater production of Haydn's "Il Mondo della Luna".
It was just the Manitoba Bisons' luck to run into an ornery pack of Dinos .
Morehouse Parish residents can't seem to get enough of bull riding events which showcase tough bull riders and the massive, ornery bulls they ride.
Robert Frost 's 'Directive' sounds ornery and ironic, heartbroken and lyrical, all at once.
If you haven't seen it, view it in case you're deciding whether to add an ornery, German-bred and alleged hunting dog, aka "weenie dog," to the family.
Along the way, Eddy's forced to kill an ornery borracho, his dogs are kidnapped and he enlists the help of the clever Seri Indians to save himself from an angry mob.
This ornery oriole's given up on expecting candor from the new head of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Arizona office, Matthew Allen.
Take a look at this ornery alligator that a crew in North Carolina needed an hour to get under control.
The "handsome but ornery chef" Rocco DiSpirito hosts weekly dinner parties at his New York City loft.
Josh Beckett reputedly was an ornery cuss in Boston, and there was that 'chicken-and-beer' incident.
For the past 15 years, Bob Bowman has watched Michael Phelps transform from an ornery 11-year-old into the greatest swimmer who ever lived.
Habit, (especially a bad one), is an ornery, irrational thing.
Delightful Kiss an 'Ornery Rascal '.