adjective, or·ner·i·er, or·ner·i·est. Dialect.
- ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper: No one can get along with my ornery cousin.
- stubborn: I can’t do a thing with that ornery mule.
- low or vile.
- inferior or common; ordinary.
adjective US and Canadian dialect, or informal
- stubborn or vile-tempered
- low; treacherousan ornery trick
adj.1816, American English dialectal contraction of ordinary (adj.). “Commonplace,” hence “of poor quality, coarse, ugly.” By c.1860 the sense had evolved to “mean, cantankerous.” Related: Orneriness.