Definition of truculent
- truculent criticism
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die-hard fans who became truculent and violent after their team's loss
a theater critic who was notorious for his titanically truculent reviews
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'truculent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Truculent derives from "truculentus," a form of the Latin adjective trux, meaning "savage." It has been used in English since the 16th century to describe people or things that are cruel and ferocious, such as tyrannical leaders or wars, and has also come to mean "deadly or destructive" (as in "a truculent disease"). In current use, however, it has lost much of its etymological fierceness. It now frequently serves to describe speech or writing that is notably harsh (as in "truculent criticism") or a person who is notably self-assertive and surly (such as "a truculent schoolboy"). Some usage commentators have criticized these extended uses because they do not match the savagery of the word's original sense, but they are well-established and perfectly standard.
First Known Use: circa 1540See Words from the same year
: easily annoyed or angered and likely to argue
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