Word of the Day : June 15, 2018


adjective pug-NAY-shus


: having a quarrelsome or combative nature : truculent

Did You Know?

Pugnacious individuals are often looking for a fight. While unpleasant, at least their fists are packing an etymological punch. Pugnacious comes from the Latin verb pugnare (meaning "to fight"), which in turn comes from the Latin word for "fist," pugnus. Another Latin word related to pugnus is pugil, meaning "boxer." Pugil is the source of our word pugilist, which means "fighter" and is used especially of professional boxers. Pugnare has also given us impugn ("to assail by words or arguments"), oppugn ("to fight against"), and repugnant (which is now used primarily in the sense of "exciting distaste or aversion," but which has also meant "characterized by contradictory opposition" and "hostile").


"In almost all the Orders, the males of some species, even of weak and delicate kinds, are known to be highly pugnacious; and some few are furnished with special weapons for fighting with their rivals." — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man,1871

"[Coach Gregg] Popovich, whose interviews can be humorously pugnacious, wasn't in the mood to look back on the streak on Monday night, saying 'Awww, it's wonderful,' without further elaboration." — Victor Mather, The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2018

Word Family Quiz

What word related to Latin pugnare (meaning "to fight") is used to describe things that have a sharp quality, especially in flavor or odor?



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