Synonym Chooser

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pugnacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pugnacious. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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