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

Definition of combative

: marked by eagerness to fight or contend

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 Jones later took the stand himself, initially being combative with the judge who had asked him to answer his own attorney's question. Jim Vertuno, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2022 Some elders with dementia become angry, restless, combative and even violent. Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 But the district’s employee survey, obtained through an open records request, showed Gadson was soon seen by some as combative and demeaning of subordinates. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 July 2022 In the hearings that followed, Cunha had been combative and defiant. Hartford Courant, 6 June 2022 Kathy Barnette says the reason for her surge in the latest polls in the crowded, combative and extremely expensive Republican Senate primary in battleground Pennsylvania is simple. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 11 May 2022 Too many campaigns revolve around the idea that candidates should be not just unyielding or combative but transgressive. The Editors, National Review, 5 Aug. 2022 Former President Donald Trump remained neutral in the high-profile and combative race until Monday night, on the eve of Missouri's primary. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 3 Aug. 2022 After an expensive and often combative campaign, voters in a bellwether Northern California county have mostly turned away a slate of far-right candidates who had sought to take control of local government. Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of combative

1826, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About combative

Time Traveler for combative

Time Traveler

The first known use of combative was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near combative

combat intelligence


combative accent

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for combative

Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Combative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on combative

Nglish: Translation of combative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of combative for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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