Definition of pugnacious in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəɡˈnāSHəs/


Eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight: the increasingly pugnacious demeanor of 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, hostile, threatening, truculent;
fiery, hot-tempered



Pronunciation: /pəɡˈnāSHəslē/
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: /pəɡˈnasədē/
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.


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

  • poignant from Late Middle English:

    Something that makes you feel a keen sense of sadness or regret can be described as poignant. This comes from an Old French word that meant ‘pricking’ and derived from Latin pungere, ‘to prick’. Back in the Middle Ages you could describe a weapon as poignant, meaning that it had a sharp point. The word could also be applied to sharp tastes or smells, as in ‘a poignant sauce’ or ‘a poignant scent’. This sense is now covered by the related word pungent (late 16th century), which originally meant ‘very painful or distressing’ and at one time could also mean ‘telling or convincing’, as in Samuel Pepys's reference to ‘a very good and pungent sermon’. The slim dagger called a poinard (mid 16th century) may look as if it should be related, particularly as it is often spelt with a ‘g’ in early texts. However, this illustrates the danger of jumping to conclusions in etymologies. It gets its name from the fact that it is held in the fist, from Latin pugnus ‘fist’. This is also the source, via pugnare ‘to fight’, of pugnacious (mid 17th century). See also point

Words that rhyme with pugnacious

Athanasius, audacious, bodacious, cactaceous, capacious, carbonaceous, contumacious, Cretaceous, curvaceous, disputatious, edacious, efficacious, fallacious, farinaceous, flirtatious, foliaceous, fugacious, gracious, hellacious, herbaceous, Ignatius, loquacious, mendacious, mordacious, ostentatious, perspicacious, pertinacious, rapacious, sagacious, salacious, saponaceous, sebaceous, sequacious, setaceous, spacious, tenacious, veracious, vexatious, vivacious, voracious

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pug·na·cious

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