Cranky is one of those words that sounds a little bit like what it means: one who is cranky is easily annoyed, irritable, or testy. My sister gets cranky when she doesn't eat. If you want to have a good day, keep her well fed.

A cranky person doesn't get furious or outraged, they're just easier than usual to annoy—things get on their nerves more quickly than they do for other people. You could think of someone who's cranky as having actual crank. When they're hungry, tired or otherwise worn out that crank is easy to turn—it doesn't take much to make them mad. A person in a good mood, though, has a crank that isn't as easy to turn. That's because they're not cranky.

Definitions of cranky
  1. adjective
    easily irritated or annoyed
    synonyms: fractious, irritable, nettlesome, peckish, peevish, pettish, petulant, scratchy, techy, testy, tetchy
    having an irritable and unpleasant disposition
  2. adjective
    (used of boats) inclined to heel over easily under sail
    synonyms: crank, tender, tippy
    lacking stability or fixity or firmness
Word Family

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