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

  • adj. Combative in nature; belligerent. See Synonyms at belligerent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Naturally aggressive or hostile; combative; belligerent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Disposed to fight; inclined to fighting; quarrelsome; fighting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Disposed to fight; quarrelsome; given to fighting: as, a pugnacious fellow; a pugnacious disposition.
  • Synonyms Contentious.

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

  • adj. tough and callous by virtue of experience
  • adj. ready and able to resort to force or violence


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

From Latin pugnāx, pugnāc-, from pugnāre, to fight, from pugnus, fist; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin, a form of pugnō ("I fight"), from pugnus ("fist"), from Proto-Indo-European roots.


  • Jeff, in your article today regarding this debate, you called her pugnacious, and it started with the very first question.

    CNN Transcript Feb 27, 2008

  • On the middle step was what vaguely resembled a cat but could more correctly be described as a pugnacious face in the middle of an otherwise featureless ragged dirty grey furball.

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • Long before this time, when the inhabitants of the moon were sometimes governed by their passions and before the day of peace and good will had fully arrived, it had been discovered that what was known as the pugnacious instinct was only a disease, bad blood in fact as well as in name, and a remedy had been found for it.

    Daybreak; a Romance of an Old World

  • The Mindset Media study found that Housewives fans are "pugnacious" "antagonists" who like Botox.

    'Mad Men' fans, you're creative. Watch 'Dancing with the Stars'? You'll like fiber.

  • "I told them that the Bolton battle was about more than just John Bolton and was for many of us a" proxy battle "over the kind of pugnacious, anti-internationalism that had become the dominant personality of the Bush administration's foreign policy."

    Election Central Saturday Roundup

  • On May 16, Obama's speech about Iran was called "pugnacious" on CBS, not exactly a positive view.

    John K. Wilson: Media Research Center Lies Exposed about Obama and the Press

  • STRANGER: That part of the pugnacious which is a contest of bodily strength may be properly called by some such name as violent.

    The Sophist

  • a rule be called pugnacious; they excite themselves to fight by indulging in strange war-dances and by singing songs full of braggadocio; and, after having been thus wrought up to a state of frenzy, they are perfectly reckless as to personal hazard.

    Foot-prints of Travel or, Journeyings in Many Lands

  • published what she appropriately described as a "pugnacious" email memo sent to Groupon employees from CEO Andrew Mason.

  • Overlooking the editorial use of the word "pugnacious" in describing Don Blankenship - who is anything but - there are certainly questions arising out of this tragedy that demand answers.

    From On High


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  • 'Kampf- / Streitlustig' TOP 10

    S: CONTENTIOUS, Belligerent, Combative, Aggressive, Irascible

    A: Kind, Laid-Back, Fearful

    October 25, 2013

  • pugnacious Richard Nixon Losing Ground Charles Murray

    March 30, 2012

  • "I hide like a parasite in the skin of this old city that snores and farts and rumbles and scratches and swells and grows warty and pugnacious with age." From Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.

    September 27, 2011

  • "inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative."


    March 25, 2009