November 27, 2021

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Word of the Day: ornery

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: having a difficult and contrary disposition

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The word ornery has appeared in 21 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Dec. 14 in the Opinion essay “Beethoven’s 250th Birthday: His Greatness Is in the Details” by Anthony Tommasini:

Beethoven’s dominance of classical programming is a little crazy. Yet he was indisputably amazing. He cultivated the mystique of the composer as colossus, as a seer and hero striding the earth, channeling messages from on high and revealing them to us mere mortals.

In person, he may not have advanced this image. Unkempt and ornery, he had delusions about having royal blood, kept falling for women of the upper ranks in Vienna who were unattainable matches, and, in a pathetic attempt at having a family, spent years in court fighting to gain custody of his nephew from the boy’s widowed mother, whom he considered morally unfit. (He succeeded, with predictably fraught results.)

Can you correctly use the word ornery in a sentence?

Based on the definition and example provided, write a sentence using today’s Word of the Day and share it as a comment on this article. It is most important that your sentence makes sense and demonstrates that you understand the word’s definition, but we also encourage you to be creative and have fun.

Then, read some of the other sentences students have submitted and use the “Recommend” button to vote for two original sentences that stand out to you.

If you want a better idea of how ornery can be used in a sentence, read these usage examples on Vocabulary.com.

If you enjoy this daily challenge, try one of our monthly vocabulary challenges.

Students ages 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, can comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff.

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