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

Definition of combative

: marked by eagerness to fight or contend

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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 But the combative approach and small-bore measures seemed only to highlight the president’s struggles to confront the most consequential moment of his presidency. Justin Sink,, "Trump’s Error-Laden ‘Foreign Virus’ Speech Spooks Investors," 29 Apr. 2020 Its diplomats are logging onto Twitter to help fight its PR battles, developing a combative, Trump-like approach to defending the regime online. Jeff Kao, ProPublica, "How China Built a Twitter Propaganda Machine Then Let It Loose on Coronavirus," 29 Mar. 2020 Auerbach said governors and state officials taking a less combative approach could pay even bigger dividends. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "State governors taking lead on coronavirus precautions as federal government works to define plan," 19 Mar. 2020 Taking a more combative approach, a Sanders ad attacks Biden for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, "Democrats gear up for brutal 2020 fight with Trump in Michigan," 9 Mar. 2020 But Trump has also been combative or dismissive toward U.S. intelligence agencies throughout his presidency. Greg Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat starting in January," 28 Apr. 2020 Disorderly conduct: Senlac Hills While police were investigating a disturbance at 12:14 a.m. April 5, an intoxicated man, 34, became uncooperative and combative toward officers. cleveland, "Police track stolen car to two women in Warrensville Heights: Chagrin Falls Police Blotter," 10 Apr. 2020 Both brothers are combative and a little thin-skinned. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Keeping Up With the Cuomos," 4 Apr. 2020 Their intergenerational exchange is smugly combative and made all the more fascinating by the obvious allusions to the real-life showrunner Mara Brock Akil, the Girlfriends and The Game creator for whom Waithe once worked. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Lena Waithe and When Black Artists Make Mediocre Art," 6 Mar. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of combative

1826, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for combative

Time Traveler

The first known use of combative was in 1826

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Statistics for combative

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Combative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for combative


How to pronounce combative (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of combative

: having or showing a willingness to fight or argue

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