mil·​i·​tant ˈmi-lə-tənt How to pronounce militant (audio)
: engaged in warfare or combat : fighting
: aggressively active (as in a cause) : combative
militant conservationists
a militant attitude
militant noun
militantly adverb
militantness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for militant

aggressive, militant, assertive, self-assertive mean obtrusively energetic especially in pursuing particular goals.

aggressive implies a disposition to dominate often in disregard of others' rights or in determined and energetic pursuit of one's ends.

aggressive in his business dealings

militant also implies a fighting disposition but suggests not self-seeking but devotion to a cause, movement, or principle.

militant protesters rallied against the new law

assertive suggests bold self-confidence in expression of opinion.

the more assertive speakers dominated the forum

self-assertive connotes forwardness or brash self-confidence.

a self-assertive young upstart

Examples of militant in a Sentence

an angry and militant speech political radicals with a militant unwillingness to compromise on any issue
Recent Examples on the Web Early Friday, 24 hostages were freed by Hamas as part of a temporary truce with Israel after the militant group's surprise terror attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel's retaliatory strikes in Gaza. Justin Gomez, ABC News, 24 Nov. 2023 Among those named as being freed on a list released by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was Hanna Katzir, 76, whose death had been announced on Telegram on Tuesday by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group. Anna Schecter, NBC News, 24 Nov. 2023 German police launched a dawn raid Thursday against local representatives of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza and has been proscribed as a terror group in Germany. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 Not all hostages are believed to be held by Hamas; smaller militant groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad are potentially in control of some. Frances Vinall, Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2023 In response, Israel declared war on Hamas — which controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza — and indicated that a long military campaign to defeat the militant group was on the horizon. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 22 Nov. 2023 At the same time, many Israelis have been torn over how hard to retaliate against Hamas — the militant group killed 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7, mostly civilians, according to the Israeli government. Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Hamas and hospital administrators deny that the militant group uses the grounds of Shifa or other hospitals for military operations. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 21 Nov. 2023 Israeli bombings, missile attacks, and tank fire are most likely to push Gazans toward Hamas and other militant groups. Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Affairs, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'militant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of militant was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near militant

Cite this Entry

“Militant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mil·​i·​tant ˈmil-ə-tənt How to pronounce militant (audio)
: being at war
: aggressively active especially in a cause
militant protesters
militant noun
militantly adverb
militantness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on militant

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