Synonyms & Antonyms of pugnacious

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About pugnacious

How is the word pugnacious distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of pugnacious are bellicose, belligerent, contentious, and quarrelsome. While all these words mean "having an aggressive or fighting attitude," pugnacious suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat.

a pugnacious gangster

In what contexts can bellicose take the place of pugnacious?

The synonyms bellicose and pugnacious are sometimes interchangeable, but bellicose suggests a disposition to fight.

a drunk in a bellicose mood

When would belligerent be a good substitute for pugnacious?

While the synonyms belligerent and pugnacious are close in meaning, belligerent often implies being actually at war or engaged in hostilities.

belligerent nations

Where would contentious be a reasonable alternative to pugnacious?

Although the words contentious and pugnacious have much in common, contentious implies perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling.

wearied by his contentious disposition

When is it sensible to use quarrelsome instead of pugnacious?

The meanings of quarrelsome and pugnacious largely overlap; however, quarrelsome stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause.

the heat made us all quarrelsome

Learn More About pugnacious

Time Traveler for pugnacious

Time Traveler

The first known use of pugnacious was in 1642

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About pugnacious

Thesaurus Entries Near pugnacious




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Pugnacious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on pugnacious

Nglish: Translation of pugnacious for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!