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

Weight claims that Bartlett then stepped very close to him in a combative way, so Weight pushed him back. Jack Greiner,, "Arctic Man festival leads to First Amendment challenge," 11 June 2019 Though once a political ally of Turner, Boykins has become increasingly combative with the mayor amid the city’s ongoing labor dispute with the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. Jasper Scherer, Houston Chronicle, "Councilman Dwight Boykins files paperwork indicating run for mayor," 5 June 2019 The often combative younger Netanyahu issued a quick apology, saying the remarks did not represent the values he was raised on and were made under the influence of alcohol. Aron Heller, Houston Chronicle, "Israeli leader's son under fire again for strip club banter," 9 Jan. 2018 WEDNESDAY Trump lambasted European allies in combative remarks on camera at the breakfast with Stoltenberg. Martin Finucane,, "Believe it or not, President Trump has been in Europe a little over 72 hours," 13 July 2018 The fast-talking, playfully combative morning show host is getting his own platform on June 4. Jeremy Barr, The Hollywood Reporter, "With New Primetime Show, CNN Bets On Chris Cuomo," 23 May 2018 Known for his combative style and fierce loyalty to Trump, Cohen served for a decade as a top lawyer at the Trump Organization, tangling with reporters and Trump's business competitors on behalf of the celebrity real estate mogul. The Washington Post,, "Trump's lawyer Cohen probed for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations," 10 Apr. 2018 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

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

Statistics for combative

Last Updated

16 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!