tru·​cu·​lent | \ ˈtrə-kyə-lənt How to pronounce truculent (audio) also ˈtrü- \

Definition of truculent

1 : aggressively self-assertive : belligerent
2 : scathingly harsh : vitriolic truculent criticism
3 : feeling or displaying ferocity : cruel, savage

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Other Words from truculent

truculently adverb

Did You Know?

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.

Examples of truculent in a Sentence

The hard work is to demonstrate exactly how the outsize Churchillian personality, so truculent, so impulsive, so often profoundly wrongheaded, became, in the dark spring of 1940, just what was needed for national survival. — Simon Schama, New York Review of Books, 28 Feb. 2002 Milton—in his prose an opinionated and truculent writer—remains a magnet for opinionated and truculent criticism. — Helen Vendler, New Republic, 30 July 2001 Within a year of publishing The Female Eunuch, she had debated Norman Mailer in a truculent disputation at Town Hall in New York, turned up on the cover of Life magazine as the "saucy feminist that even men like," and inspired innumerable women to stop wearing underpants. — Margaret Talbot, New Republic, 31 May 1999 … in the breast pocket of her police uniform she carried a small silver figurine of Durga, the Hindu goddess of shakti: power and strength. Defiant and truculent, she flashed a cheeky grin. — Mary Anne Weaver, Atlantic, November 1996 Challenged to a fight by a truculent layabout on the playing fields of St. James's primary school one Saturday, he had replied to his aggressor's taunts with his own war cries … — Wole Soyinka, Isara, 1989 die-hard fans who became truculent and violent after their team's loss a theater critic who was notorious for his titanically truculent reviews
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Recent Examples on the Web To move forward, Brown had to come to terms with all that went wrong during his short and truculent tenure at West Orange, which ended amid bizarre circumstances. J.c. Carnahan,, 16 Nov. 2020 And if talks collapse many fear that France’s famously truculent fishermen could blockade ports to stop movements of British fish. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2020 All of this is mostly an invention, or a repurposing of Jerome’s identity during the Renaissance, when the truculent theological ideologue of Catholic Church history was recast as a meditative scholar who sought the solace of nature. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2019 In Brussels, Sondland garnered a reputation for his truculent manner and fondness for the trappings of privilege. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Oct. 2019 But a growing and increasingly truculent segment of Iran’s population doubts the standoff is worth it. The Economist, 22 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of truculent

circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for truculent

Latin truculentus, from truc-, trux savage; perhaps akin to Middle Irish trú doomed person

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Time Traveler for truculent

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The first known use of truculent was circa 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Truculent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for truculent



English Language Learners Definition of truculent

: easily annoyed or angered and likely to argue

More from Merriam-Webster on truculent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for truculent

Nglish: Translation of truculent for Spanish Speakers


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