Word of the Day : July 21, 2015


adjective TRUCK-yuh-lunt


1 : feeling or displaying ferocity : cruel, savage

2 : deadly, destructive

3 : scathingly harsh : vitriolic

4 : aggressively self-assertive : belligerent

Did You Know?

Truculent derives from truculentus, a form of the Latin adjective trux, meaning "savage." It has been used in English since the 16th century to describe people or things that are cruel and ferocious, such as tyrannical leaders, and has also come to mean "deadly or destructive" (as in "a truculent disease"). In current use, however, it has lost much of its etymological fierceness. It now frequently serves to describe speech or writing that is notably harsh (as in "truculent criticism") or a person who is notably self-assertive and surly (such as "a truculent schoolboy"). Some usage commentators have criticized these extended uses because they do not match the savagery of the word's original sense, but they are well-established and perfectly standard.


Warren's truculent demeanor made him unpleasant to work with, particularly as deadlines approached.

"When I interviewed her at the end of last year, she struck me as an unusually truculent person, one who certainly couldn't be pushed about, by me or anyone." - Rachel Cooke, The Observer (London), May 31, 2015

Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of truculent: p _ _ n _ ci _ _ s. The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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