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belligerent Syllabification: bel·lig·er·ent
Pronunciation: /bəˈlijərənt/

Definition of belligerent in English:


1Hostile and aggressive: a bull-necked, belligerent old man
More example sentences
  • And I think we do need to hear what they are saying because they act as a restraint to an aggressive or belligerent response’.
  • He's a good footballer but he's not very aggressive, not very belligerent and I'd like to think that with 20-odd caps he'd be a bit more aggressive than he is.
  • In arguments they are emotionally very aggressive - belligerent, contemptuous, insulting.
1.1Engaged in a war or conflict, as recognized by international law.
Example sentences
  • It is based upon the customary international laws of belligerent occupation, including the Hague Regulations.
  • It is widely recognized that access by belligerent groups to the gains from drug production and trafficking contributes to the intensity and prolongation of military conflict.
  • Take also the case of lawful belligerent reprisals (for example, the use of prohibited weapons).
warring, at war, combatant, fighting, battling


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A nation or person engaged in war or conflict, as recognized by international law.
Example sentences
  • Moreover, as against states not parties to an international armed conflict, belligerents enjoy no special privileges and remain bound by general rules of international law.
  • In rejecting this challenge, the Court drew the distinction between the common law notion of lawful and unlawful belligerents.
  • The customary laws of war, when adapted for conflict with unlawful belligerents, must always incorporate rules of humanitarian restraint.


Pronunciation: /bəˈlij(ə)rəntlē/
Example sentences
  • ‘Don't even think about asking,’ he cautioned belligerently.
  • But she later changed tack, reverting to a belligerently confrontational stance.
  • ‘I never started explaining,’ Penelope pointed out belligerently.


Late 16th century: from Latin belligerant- 'waging war', from the verb belligerare, from bellum 'war'.

Words that rhyme with belligerent

Definition of belligerent in:
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