pugnacious

adjective
pug·​na·​cious | \ ˌpəg-ˈnā-shəs How to pronounce pugnacious (audio) \

Definition of pugnacious

: having a quarrelsome or combative nature : truculent

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Other Words from pugnacious

pugnaciously adverb
pugnaciousness noun
pugnacity \ ˌpəg-​ˈna-​sə-​tē How to pronounce pugnacious (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for pugnacious

belligerent, bellicose, pugnacious, quarrelsome, contentious mean having an aggressive or fighting attitude. belligerent often implies being actually at war or engaged in hostilities. belligerent nations bellicose suggests a disposition to fight. a drunk in a bellicose mood pugnacious suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat. a pugnacious gangster quarrelsome stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause. the heat made us all quarrelsome contentious implies perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling. wearied by his contentious disposition

Examples of pugnacious in a Sentence

That's a bass for you: pugnacious, adaptable and ever ready to demonstrate that the first order of business on any given day, drought or no drought, is eating anything that it can fit its big, powerful mouth around. — Pete Bodo, New York Times, 22 Oct. 1995 Herz sees himself as a pugnacious sardine going up against rule-flouting sharks. — Richard Wolkomir, Smithsonian, August 1992 He was a short man with heavy shoulders, a slight potbelly, puffy blue eyes, and a pugnacious expression. — Alice Munro, New Yorker, 2 Jan. 1989 Podhoretz takes a more pugnacious and protesting stance, insisting on the word "seriousness" at all times and punctuating it with the word "moral". — Christopher Hitchens, Times Literary Supplement, 30 May 1986 There's one pugnacious member on the committee who won't agree to anything. a movie reviewer who is spirited, even pugnacious, when defending her opinions
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Recent Examples on the Web Flared fenders, pugnacious grille, flat hood, long roof and greenhouse. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 2 June 2021 Even in China, where propaganda has become increasingly pugnacious, the display was jarring: A photograph of a Chinese rocket poised to blast into space juxtaposed with a cremation pyre in India, which is overwhelmed by the coronavirus. BostonGlobe.com, 4 May 2021 Professor Mundell remained proudly pugnacious to the end of his career. Tom Redburn, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2021 Greg Gutfeld is taking his Fox News Channel talk show from Saturdays to a high-profile weeknight perch, serving as a lighter, more satirical chaser for the cable network's pugnacious opinion lineup. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2021 That's a quote from Jesse Kelly, a pugnacious right-wing talking head, on Tucker Carlson's show last week. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, 30 Mar. 2021 And many critics pointed to a second, more pugnacious discussion to argue Trump remains guilty of applying pressure to Georgia officials regardless of the latest journalistic error. Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner, 17 Mar. 2021 Their minimalism certainly doesn’t sideline more pugnacious gazes on the past. New York Times, 25 Feb. 2021 There was a certain poetry in watching the two seniors, both starters in that 2019 NIT title game, and a pugnacious backup overwhelm a young, scrappy Oklahoma State team that seemed on the verge of a major breakthrough until Saturday night. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pugnacious.' 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 pugnacious

1642, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pugnacious

Latin pugnac-, pugnax, from pugnare to fight — more at pungent

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Time Traveler for pugnacious

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The first known use of pugnacious was in 1642

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pugnacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pugnacious. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for pugnacious

pugnacious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pugnacious

formal : showing a readiness or desire to fight or argue

More from Merriam-Webster on pugnacious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pugnacious

Nglish: Translation of pugnacious for Spanish Speakers

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