war·​like ˈwȯr-ˌlīk How to pronounce warlike (audio)
obsolete : ready for war : equipped to fight
: fit for, disposed to, or fond of war : bellicose
a warlike people
: of, relating to, or useful in war
warlike preparations
: befitting or characteristic of war or a soldier
warlike cries

Examples of warlike in a Sentence

The government has been criticized for its warlike attitude. a seafarer's legend that the remote island was inhabited by a warlike and uncivilized tribe
Recent Examples on the Web The group, which the ADL says emphasizes physical fitness and a warlike mentality, has focused mostly on disrupting events oriented toward the LGBTQ community, such as Drag Queen Story Hour readings for children. Tavleen Tarrant, NBC News, 19 Feb. 2024 After a fiery speech, Mishima—obsessed with physical beauty and warlike vigor—killed himself with a sword. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 Responding to her questionnaire, Cyril Connolly, the editor of Horizon magazine, pointed out that the aggressive aims of fascist states required a populace that was ‘rendered both warlike and servile’ – the ‘stultifying’, in other words, ‘of the human race’. Sarah Watling, Time, 13 July 2023 Regional experts say the provisions violate international law by allowing China’s coast guard, without declaring war, to engage in warlike behavior beyond its national jurisdiction. Damien Cave, New York Times, 12 June 2023 Brazilian police killed at least 25 people in a warlike operation against a heavily armed criminal gang on Sunday, marking a violent escalation in the country’s ongoing struggle against sophisticated criminal groups staging elaborate bank heists in southern Brazil. Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2021 The video has sparked protests in his hometown and calls for justice across Brazil, where police are notorious for warlike raids — heavy-handed actions encouraged by far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as part of his populist crime-fighting agenda. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, 26 May 2022 The character’s origin story reminds viewers of Ragnarok’s pointed depiction of Thor and his Asgardian cohort as warlike colonizers. David Sims, The Atlantic, 5 July 2022 That could mean that, despite evidence of early warfare from other sites around the world, early Holocene hunter-gatherers weren’t innately warlike. K. N. Smith, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'warlike.' 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 warlike was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near warlike

Cite this Entry

“Warlike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warlike. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


war·​like ˈwȯ(ə)r-ˌlīk How to pronounce warlike (audio)
: fond of war
warlike people
: of, relating to, or used in war
warlike preparations

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