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adjective pug·na·cious \ˌpəg-ˈnā-shəs\

Simple Definition of pugnacious

  • : showing a readiness or desire to fight or argue

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pugnacious

  1. :  having a quarrelsome or combative nature :  truculent

pugnaciously adverb
pugnaciousness noun
pugnacity play \-ˈna-sə-tē\ noun

Examples of pugnacious in a sentence

  1. That's a bass for you: pugnacious, adaptable and ever ready to demonstrate that the first order of business on any given day, drought or no drought, is eating anything that it can fit its big, powerful mouth around. —Pete Bodo, New York Times, 22 Oct. 1995

  2. Herz sees himself as a pugnacious sardine going up against rule-flouting sharks. —Richard Wolkomir, Smithsonian, August 1992

  3. He was a short man with heavy shoulders, a slight potbelly, puffy blue eyes, and a pugnacious expression. —Alice Munro, New Yorker, 2 Jan. 1989

  4. Podhoretz takes a more pugnacious and protesting stance, insisting on the word “seriousness” at all times and punctuating it with the word “moral”. —Christopher Hitchens, Times Literary Supplement, 30 May 1986

  5. There's one pugnacious member on the committee who won't agree to anything.

  6. <a movie reviewer who is spirited, even pugnacious, when defending her opinions>

Origin of pugnacious

Latin pugnac-, pugnax, from pugnare to fight — more at pungent

First Known Use: 1642

Synonym Discussion of pugnacious

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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