adjective bel·li·cose \ˈbe-li-ˌkōs\

: having or showing a tendency to argue or fight

Full Definition of BELLICOSE

:  favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars
bel·li·cos·i·ty \ˌbe-li-ˈkä-sə-tē\ noun

Examples of BELLICOSE

  1. <bellicose hockey players who always seem to spend more time fighting than playing>
  2. Never in peacetime, perhaps, have the statements of our government officials been more relentlessly bellicose. Yet their actions have been comparatively cautious. —New Yorker, 24 June 1985


Middle English, from Latin bellicosus, from bellicus of war, from bellum war
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of BELLICOSE

belligerent, bellicose, pugnacious, quarrelsome, contentious mean having an aggressive or fighting attitude. belligerent often implies being actually at war or engaged in hostilities <belligerent nations>. bellicose suggests a disposition to fight <a drunk in a bellicose mood>. pugnacious suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat <a pugnacious gangster>. quarrelsome stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause <the heat made us all quarrelsome>. contentious implies perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling <wearied by his contentious disposition>.


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