bel·​li·​cose | \ ˈbe-li-ˌkōs How to pronounce bellicose (audio) \

Definition of bellicose

: favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars

Other Words from bellicose

bellicosity \ ˌbe-​li-​ˈkä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce bellicose (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Don't War Over the Meaning of Bellicose

Since bellicose describes an attitude that hopes for actual war, the word is generally applied to nations and their leaders. In the 20th century, it was commonly used to describe such figures as Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm, Italy's Benito Mussolini, and Japan's General Tojo, leaders who believed their countries had everything to gain by starting wars. The international relations of a nation with a bellicose foreign policy tend to be stormy and difficult, and bellicosity usually makes the rest of the world very uneasy.

Examples of bellicose in a Sentence

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 For three centuries Viking raiders haunted western Europe. The bellicose Charlemagne himself felt menaced. — Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers, 1983 His evident calm, which always infuriated the opposition, must have irritated the bellicose colonel to a point at which he could control himself no longer. — Michael Pearson, Those Damned Rebels, 1972 bellicose hockey players who seem to spend more time fighting than playing
Recent Examples on the Web In a flurry of steps at the summit in Madrid, which ends Thursday, President Biden and other NATO leaders sought to respond to President Vladimir V. Putin’s resurgent and bellicose Russia. New York Times, 29 June 2022 In a flurry of steps at the summit in Madrid, which ends Thursday, President Biden and other NATO leaders sought to respond to President Vladimir Putin’s resurgent and bellicose Russia. Michael D. Shear,, 29 June 2022 And this in the context of bellicose words and actions from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine and Kim Jong Un's ongoing nuclear rhetoric and actions in nearby North Korea. David A. Andelman, CNN, 4 Aug. 2022 The Kim regime has grown more bellicose in recent months, with a new conservative South Korean administration planning to resume full-scale, joint military exercises with the U.S. next month. Dasl Yoon, WSJ, 28 July 2022 The urgency of this need will become increasingly clear as Russia grows more bellicose in executing its geopolitical strategy. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Female leaders appear to be just as bellicose as male ones, if not more so. Grayson Quay, The Week, 29 June 2022 Taken with his bellicose rhetoric, these actions demonstrated that the world could no longer assume that the United States was committed to defending the geopolitical status quo. Daniel Bessner, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 And Trump, beyond his bellicose and inchoate trade war against China, largely ignored the region, save for a couple of fancy dinners with Kim Jong Un. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 24 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bellicose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bellicose

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bellicose

Middle English, from Latin bellicosus, from bellicus of war, from bellum war

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The first known use of bellicose was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bellicose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of bellicose for Spanish Speakers


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