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

: showing a readiness or desire to fight or argue

Full Definition of PUGNACIOUS

:  having a quarrelsome or combative nature :  truculent
pug·na·cious·ly adverb
pug·na·cious·ness noun
pug·nac·i·ty \-ˈna-sə-tē\ noun

Examples of PUGNACIOUS

  1. There's one pugnacious member on the committee who won't agree to anything.
  2. <a movie reviewer who is spirited, even pugnacious, when defending her opinions>
  3. 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


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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