com·​bat·​ive | \ kəm-ˈba-tiv How to pronounce combative (audio) \

Definition of combative

: marked by eagerness to fight or contend

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from combative

combatively adverb
combativeness noun

Examples of combative in a Sentence

When the police tried to arrest him, he became combative. channeling his naturally combative impulses into sports

Recent Examples on the Web

The 71-year-old is unlikely to spring any real surprises in Russia this summer, and so fans can look forward to a solid defensive shape, with fullbacks who attack only when absolutely necessary, and a midfield that is more combative than creative., "Suarez, Cavani Return to Lead Group A Favorite Uruguay at World Cup," 30 May 2018 Some are overly combative (Aries, Scorpio), and some are impossibly complacent (Cancer, Libra). Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Worst Relationship Habit," 14 May 2018 The beginning of this hearing is already rather combative. Tim Ross,, "Varadkar Wants Progress on Ireland Border by June: Brexit Update," 25 Apr. 2018 Instead of appearing as a sympathetic victim, Monroy was somewhat combative under questioning by Norgaard. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "Wife of cop-killer found guilty of murder for helping him move gun used in killings," 16 Feb. 2018 Next chapter, same as the last several chapters for Griffin in L.A. * NBA players continue to challenge almost every referee call while still wondering why officials seem to be so combative this season. Bud Shaw,, "The Browns could offer Alex Smith a chance to take them up, up and away -- Bud Shaw's Spinoffs," 30 Jan. 2018 Senators from both parties seemed rattled by the combative nature of the nomination, some of which was driven by the nominee himself. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "GOP Muscles Kavanaugh Through Senate," 7 Oct. 2018 Kavanaugh was combative with Democratic senators, frequently interrupting them or flatly refusing to answer their questions. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The 7 most important moments from Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony," 27 Sep. 2018 The frustration may well have reflected the increasingly combative nature of his own dealings with the press. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Spicer harbored doubts about taking press secretary's job," 20 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of combative

1826, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about combative

Share combative

Statistics for combative

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for combative

The first known use of combative was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for combative



English Language Learners Definition of combative

: having or showing a willingness to fight or argue

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on combative

What made you want to look up combative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!