Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Inclined or eager to fight; hostile or aggressive.
  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or engaged in warfare.
  • n. One that is hostile or aggressive, especially one that is engaged in war.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Engaged in warfare, warring.
  • adj. Eager to go to war, warlike.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to war.
  • adj. Aggressively hostile, eager to fight.
  • adj. Acting violently towards others.
  • n. A state or other armed participant in warfare

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Waging war; carrying on war.
  • adj. Pertaining, or tending, to war; of or relating to belligerents.
  • n. A nation or state recognized as carrying on war; a person engaged in warfare.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Warlike; given to waging war; characterized by a tendency to wage or carry on war.
  • Of warlike character; constituting or tending to an infraction of peace: as, a belligerent. tone of debate.
  • Actually engaged in war: as, the belligerent powers.
  • Pertaining to war, or to those engaged in war: as, belligerent rights, etc.
  • n. A nation, power, or state carrying on war; also, a person engaged in fighting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characteristic of an enemy or one eager to fight
  • n. someone who fights (or is fighting)
  • adj. engaged in war

Etymologies

Latin belligerāns, belligerant-, present participle of belligerāre, to wage war, from belliger, warlike : bellum, war + gerere, to make.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin belligerans ("waging war"), present active participle of belligerō ("I wage war"), from belliger ("waging war, warlike"), from bellum ("war") + -ger (from gerō ("I lead, wage, carry on")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By this it was provided that thereafter the captain of a cruiser who should impress an American citizen should be liable to heavy penalties, to be enacted by law; but as the preamble to this proposition read, "Whereas it is not lawful for a belligerent to impress or carry off, from on board a neutral, seafaring persons _who are not the subjects of the belligerent_," there was admitted implicitly the right to impress those who were such subjects, the precise point at issue.

    Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812 Volume 1

  • If a foreign unlawful enemy belligerent is actually tried for war crimes before a military commission, he has never enjoyed constitutional due rights under the 5th and 6th Amendments.

    Balkinization

  • We saw an AC-130 Spectre gunship destroying a facility, which the coalition says was used as a meeting, storage and rendezvous point for what they described as belligerent elements.

    CNN Transcript Nov 13, 2003

  • "Your father is what I call a belligerent non-combatant."

    The Stillwater Tragedy

  • 'LOCKED-UP COUNTRY POLICY': The Presidential Office accused the DPP of souring relations with the US through what it called a belligerent foreign policy toward

    WN.com - Articles related to Taiwan urges China not to block trade agreements

  • There are varied comments about what I call a belligerent cause to intensify the statements of gay and lesbian organizations who continue to march to their causes and fight for rights to have their marriages sanctified and recognized and their "families" together on the same insurance policies.

    The News is NowPublic.com - NowPublic.com: The News is Now Public

  • His expression belligerent, he locked his dark explosive eyes with Becca’s.

    The Carides Pregnancy

  • On Friday, Mr. Chávez went further, arguing that the FARC has a "true" army that "occupies space" and is therefore a "belligerent" -- a term that would give it standing under international law.

    A Hollywood Yarn Unravels

  • "By its present position De Beers have reneged on this agreement," Molebatsi said, adding that in light of De Beers 'so-called belligerent attitude, Num was left with no choice but to declare a dispute.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Suddenly, the Foreign Secretary turned about, with a facility and promptness for which men had not been prepared even by his rapid changes on the questions of the Russian War and Italian Nationality, and said that the Southern Confederacy would be recognized as a belligerent, which is, to all intents and purposes of a practical character, the same thing as acknowledging it to be a nation.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 45, July, 1861

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