quar·​rel·​some | \ ˈkwȯr(-ə)l-səm How to pronounce quarrelsome (audio) , ˈkwär(-ə)l-\

Definition of quarrelsome

: apt or disposed to quarrel in an often petty manner : contentious

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Other Words from quarrelsome

quarrelsomely adverb
quarrelsomeness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for quarrelsome

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 quarrelsome in a Sentence

a quarrelsome student who was always being sent to the principal's office for starting fights in the halls you're so quarrelsome: you can never do anything without a fuss

Recent Examples on the Web

Ellison’s quarrelsome personality clouded his reputation. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Harlan Ellison’s Death Raises a #MeToo Quandary," 2 July 2018 The Skylight production is most effective at capturing family interplay, quarrelsome when boundaries are overstepped, fond when common ground is regained. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Women, united: Evil stirs 'The Madres' to action in Argentina," 30 Mar. 2018 To make headway, the task needs to be assigned to an official with the clout to compel collaboration among disparate and often quarrelsome national security bureaucracies. Anchorage Daily News, "The Pentagon isn’t taking UFOs seriously enough," 16 Mar. 2018 That the world is a contradictory and quarrelsome place is hardly breaking news. USA TODAY, "Against tense global backdrop, let the Games begin," 7 Feb. 2018 Once in New York, Hardwick claims to have meandered a bit, living with a quarrelsome gay roommate and going out to jazz clubs to see performances by, among others, Billie Holiday. Michelle Dean, New Republic, "The Company She Kept," 8 Dec. 2017 Their fights hit every note and tempo: nagging, bickering, quarrelsome, sniping, passive-aggression, shouting, screaming, wailing, whispered rage. Christine Smallwood, New York Times, "Greta Gerwig’s Radical Confidence," 1 Nov. 2017 Handsome Lake described the horror of that time: Now that the party is home the men revel in strong drink and are very quarrelsome. Because of this the families become frightened and move away for safety. Longreads, "America’s First Addiction Epidemic," 29 Aug. 2017 Fans of Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck and even the peevish Andy Rooney will find a lot to enjoy in these essays, which are lively and not afraid to be quarrelsome. Kathleen Rooney, chicagotribune.com, "Jenny Allen's Shouts & Murmurs, collected," 26 July 2017

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

1596, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of quarrelsome was in 1596

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English Language Learners Definition of quarrelsome

: ready or likely to argue or disagree


quar·​rel·​some | \ ˈkwȯr-əl-səm How to pronounce quarrelsome (audio) \

Kids Definition of quarrelsome

: usually ready to disagree or argue a quarrelsome person

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Comments on quarrelsome

What made you want to look up quarrelsome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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