mil·​i·​tant ˈmi-lə-tənt How to pronounce militant (audio)
: engaged in warfare or combat : fighting
: aggressively active (as in a cause) : combative
militant conservationists
a militant attitude
militant noun
militantly adverb
militantness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for militant

aggressive, militant, assertive, self-assertive 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

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

assertive suggests bold self-confidence in expression of opinion.

the more assertive speakers dominated the forum

self-assertive connotes forwardness or brash self-confidence.

a self-assertive young upstart

Examples of militant in a Sentence

an angry and militant speech political radicals with a militant unwillingness to compromise on any issue
Recent Examples on the Web However, separatist violence still occurs, and India sees Khalistan activism – especially anything that could be linked to the Khalistan Tiger Force or other present-day militant groups – as a serious national security threat. Aakash Hassan, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Sep. 2023 This has coincided with an outbreak of gang violence by Jewish settlers in the West Bank, attacking Palestinians and their homes, in addition to shootings and bombings by Palestinian militant groups targeting Israelis. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 The union has been divided for more than a decade between the Unite for Strength party, which Drescher represents, and the more militant Membership First faction. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 The 19 hijackers from the militant Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda also died. USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 The most influential outside power is Pakistan, but relations are strained because of Kabul’s tacit support for a militant group that has routinely struck targets within Pakistan in recent years. Hassan Abbas, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 Prigozhin’s demise has raised questions about the future of Wagner’s operations in Africa, where the mercenary group has used brutal tactics to prop up militant groups and authoritarian regimes in exchange for mineral riches. Victoria Butenko, CNN, 19 Sep. 2023 Negotiations over the prisoners have remained separate from a raft of still-contentious issues between Washington and Tehran, such as Iran supplying Russia with drones used in the war on Ukraine and its support for militant groups throughout the Middle East. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2023 Besides, the British police have their hands full trying to track down the Jewish militant groups who launch terror attacks against both their Arab neighbors and the occupying power. Alissa Simon, Variety, 17 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'militant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of militant was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near militant

Cite this Entry

“Militant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


mil·​i·​tant ˈmil-ə-tənt How to pronounce militant (audio)
: being at war
: aggressively active especially in a cause
militant protesters
militant noun
militantly adverb
militantness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on militant

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