The definition of "fractious"

This is a question in GMAT Test# GMAT/M17:

  1. adj. fractious

(a) cranky; cantankerous; easily moved to feeling displeasure; irritable
(b) conferring benefits; kind; doing good
© bound fast
(d) rebellious; apt to quarrel; stubborn

[color=green]I really believe that the option (a)“cranky; cantankerous; easily moved to feeling displeasure; irritable " precisely defines the meaning of the word " fractious”, but the given answer is (d) rebellious; apt to quarrel; stubborn.

Is it a mistake here ?

• adjective 1 easily irritated. 2 difficult to control.

• adjective (crankier, crankiest) informal 1 eccentric, odd. 2 chiefly N. Amer. bad-tempered; irritable. 3 (of a machine) working erratically.

• adjective 1 showing a desire to rebel. 2 not easily handled or kept in place; unmanageable.

This makes it more confusing :?

Well, do you ‘really believe’ or ‘strongly believe’ or just ‘believe’ ? :wink:

:slight_smile: Well, I did pause for a moment when I typed " really believe". I knew it doesn’t sound appropriate, but I finally decided to use the adverb " really " simply because I wanted to emphasize my confidence of the certainty( ok, it might be expressed in Chinese way of thinking. )

Yes, I still think option (a) is undoubtedly the best choice. :stuck_out_tongue:

Adjectives are weakening (yet another adjective :P). They weaken the emotions especially.

:slight_smile: Is it a principle ? Is it unchallengeable ? I accept it if we are talking about composing a poem.

Poems are not written for the sake of themselves neither principles stand for themselves.

And how could you be so confident about certainty? :wink:

Oh, that’s why I said " I really believe". :stuck_out_tongue: Hopefully the words really and believe could imply both confidence and “certainty”.

How could I be so confident ? hehe, do you know how people say " I believe in God" or " I believe in myself" ? :wink:

I didn’t say “How could you be so confident?”, I said, “How could you be so confident about certainty?” :wink:

Confidence, certainty and belief –

How could we imply confidence and certainty by belief? Is it our false belief that belief is not independent in its meaning? :wink:

:shock: I wish I could be able to discuss this topic pedantically with you. That’s why I am here trying hard to get my English improved.

However, I realise that if I really want to discuss this matter with you, I have to study not only English but as well as philology, philosophy, theology and psychology. I will surely be consumed with it. :roll:

We all should be consumed with not just the language but with something more substantial.


Most knowledge are imparted through languages.

So, language is the first key we need to obtain knowledge.
If I can’t handle languages well , it will be hard for me to see any substantiality in those -gies (philology, philosophy, theology, psychology …etc), not to mention that if we want to discuss it.

Well put. I could recollect something which mean everything that exists is nothing but its representation in words. We could hardly be objective.


Are you trying to bring up a philosophical theory of the functions of signs and symbols to discuss with me ?

If reading is the only way you contact with and cognize the world, then you will surely be inclined to symbolize everything you know.

Fortunately, we are not computers, we don’t need to transcribe data into digital form to ensure that we have already got the information or obtained the knowledge.

If you " know ", " feel “or” understand "something, you don’t need to describe it to yourself. You don’t need words.

Not every existence needs to be proved or documented.

By the way, is it very important for us to be objective ?

We don’t try, at least we shouldn’t. :wink:

So, which comes first – cognition or knowledge?

Quite logical.

Intangible indeed :wink: Definitely non-trivial. Something lively I have ever come across.

For writers – yes.


Do you really think that writers should have to be objective ?
What kind of writers you mean ? The journalist ?

I don’t think you were talking about poet, essayist, fictionalist or novelist. They need sensitivity but not objectivity. 8)

If I follow you correctly –

the ultimate exists only if it doesn’t :wink:

Do you mean poets cannot be objective choosing a peculiar set of words? What drives them for that choice? Isn’t it biased by their limited experiences? And if it is biased then how can it be non-objective?

It doesn’t mean I deny the sensitivity…the manifestation of sensitivity weakens it.

[color=darkblue]No, it’s not a mistake.
It’s quite commonly used in the horse world - as in “That’s a fractious colt!”

With horses it is usually applied to a young animal who lacks discipline and self-control. They can be quite rebellious, apt to quarrel, and downright stubborn!

A cranky or irritable horse usually has its ears laid back. :shock:

Hi CactusWren,

Thank you for your help. I wonder if the word “fractious” can only apply to animals ?
In fact, I have found such definition of this word :


  1. Inclined to make trouble; unruly.
  2. Having a peevish nature; [color=red]cranky.

(esp. of children) easily upset and angered, often due to tiredness.

fractious - easily irritated or annoyed; “an incorrigibly fractious young man”