1
as in ambitious
having or showing a bold forcefulness in the pursuit of a goal if you don't take a more aggressive approach to this yard pretty soon, the weeds are going to take over completely

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2
as in militant
feeling or displaying eagerness to fight a kindergarten teacher who discourages aggressive behavior, like pushing, by rewarding those children who wait their turn

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3

Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective aggressive contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of aggressive are assertive, militant, and self-assertive. While all these words mean "obtrusively energetic especially in pursuing particular goals," aggressive implies a disposition to dominate often in disregard of others' rights or in determined and energetic pursuit of one's ends.

aggressive in his business dealings

When is assertive a more appropriate choice than aggressive?

Although the words assertive and aggressive have much in common, assertive suggests bold self-confidence in expression of opinion.

the more assertive speakers dominated the forum

In what contexts can militant take the place of aggressive?

In some situations, the words militant and aggressive are roughly equivalent. However, militant also implies a fighting disposition but suggests not self-seeking but devotion to a cause, movement, or principle.

militant protesters rallied against the new law

Where would self-assertive be a reasonable alternative to aggressive?

The words self-assertive and aggressive are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, self-assertive connotes forwardness or brash self-confidence.

a self-assertive young upstart

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Cite this Entry

“Aggressive.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/aggressive. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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