bel·li·cose | \ˈbe-li-ˌkōs \

Definition of bellicose 

: favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars

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Other Words from bellicose

bellicosity \ˌbe-li-ˈkä-sə-tē \ 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 always seem to spend more time fighting than playing
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Recent Examples on the Web

Since then, her tweets have fluctuated between the bellicose and contrite. Greg Braxton,, "The battles of Roseanne Barr and why a spinoff show could lead to another epic fight," 14 June 2018 His views on foreign policy are crude and bellicose, and his track record as a policy advocate and pundit do not, to put it politely, inspire confidence., "Welcome to the Dick Cheney administration," 23 Mar. 2018 The portly, bellicose Tito, whose voice rattles the rafters, is richly presented by Paul Burt, properly over the top in his third appearance as the character on a local stage. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: A wild encore for ‘Tenor’ in Newport Beach," 7 June 2018 During those tense months, the president, annoyed by bellicose language from Pyongyang, was goading Kim about the size of his nuclear button. Washington Post, "Analysis: Has Trump blown chances for talks with NKorea?," 26 May 2018 If the signals are complex, change quickly, and are delivered in bellicose language, the chances for misunderstandings increase exponentially. Terry Hartle, The Christian Science Monitor, "'1983' chronicles a Cold War-era narrow escape from nuclear war," 2 May 2018 There is more to America than the White House, with its bellicose nationalism, and the elite universities, with their tedious orthodoxies. The Economist, "The special relationship once enriched Britain’s politics. No longer," 5 July 2018 Despite all the bellicose rhetoric, including the exchange of personal insults, both men seem determined to declare the encounter a success, no matter how vague the outcome., "Trump has never faced an adversary like Kim Jong Un," 11 June 2018 That’s going to become harder as the bellicose rhetoric transforms into action. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "Harley-Davidson Shows Why Corporations Cannot Keep Silent in Trade Wars," 25 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for bellicose

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for bellicose

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

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English Language Learners Definition of bellicose

: having or showing a tendency to argue or fight

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