Definition of pugnacious in English:


Line breaks: pug|na¦cious
Pronunciation: /pʌɡˈneɪʃəs


Eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight: the increasingly pugnacious demeanour of right-wing politicians
More example sentences
  • As is well known, the robin is pugnacious, fighting with its own kind and attacking other birds.
  • The adult males are extremely pugnacious and fight fiercely with one another.
  • Her other abiding passion came in the form of a pugnacious Labour politician, nicknamed ‘The Butcher’ for his savage attacks on the SNP.
combative, aggressive, antagonistic, belligerent, bellicose, warlike, quarrelsome, argumentative, contentious, disputatious, defiant, hostile, threatening, truculent; irascible, fiery, hot-tempered, ill-tempered, bad-tempered, rough


mid 17th century: from Latin pugnax, pugnac- (from pugnare 'to fight', from pugnus 'fist') + -ious.



More example sentences
  • ‘My Times,’ by contrast, is the work of a journalistic fugitive with nothing to lose, a man pugnaciously determined to go down swinging.
  • Sometimes it brought Republicans into the administration, sometimes it tried to show that it could talk as pugnaciously as the Republicans; neither worked.
  • But Stacey pugnaciously defends his bandmate.


Pronunciation: /-ˈnasɪti/
More example sentences
  • He believes his character transition has been for the best and maintains that he was unable to channel his pugnacity positively, rendering it a hindrance rather than a help.
  • His pugnacity in defense of his liberal instincts is obviously genuine.
  • Its inhabitants are known for their pugnacity, as well as for their tradition of hospitality.

Definition of pugnacious in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day anomalous
Pronunciation: əˈnɒm(ə)ləs
deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected