bellicose

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

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 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 always seem to spend more time fighting than playing
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Recent Examples on the Web The ink had barely dried, however, when Canberra began to grow nervous about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s bellicose foreign policy. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 28 July 2021 President Xi Jinping on Thursday marked his Communist Party’s 100th anniversary from Tiananmen Square and struck a bellicose tone, reconfirming China’s ‘historic mission’ to control Taiwan while warning other countries not to interfere. Fox News, 1 July 2021 Does anyone really believe someone like the bellicose Jordan would do anything other than work to protect Trump? Frida Ghitis, CNN, 22 July 2021 Though there has long been a bellicose strain in Chinese government discourse, this represents a departure from longstanding norms in China’s diplomatic messaging. New York Times, 7 July 2021 LePage, 72, served two tumultuous terms marked by belt-tightening conservatism and bellicose battles with opponents and the media. David Sharp, Star Tribune, 5 July 2021 China’s navy now has more ships than ours, its missile technology is superior and its words and actions have become increasingly bellicose. WSJ, 14 July 2021 Duterte is famous for his bellicose rhetoric and his remarks on Monday contradicted those of his health officials, who have said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is voluntary. Fox News, 23 June 2021 Beijing’s refusal to tolerate criticism from America or its friends has grown more bellicose as international condemnation has accelerated. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for bellicose

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bellicose

bellicist

bellicose

bellicosely

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bellicose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bellicose. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for bellicose

bellicose

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of bellicose

: having or showing a tendency to argue or fight

More from Merriam-Webster on bellicose

Nglish: Translation of bellicose for Spanish Speakers

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