Definition of belligerent in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəˈlɪdʒ(ə)r(ə)nt/


1Hostile and aggressive: the mood at the meeting was belligerent
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.
hostile, aggressive, threatening, antagonistic, pugnacious, bellicose, truculent, confrontational, argumentative, quarrelsome, disputatious, contentious, militant, combative;
quick-tempered, hot-tempered, ill-tempered, bad-tempered, irascible, captious
informal spoiling for a fight
British informal stroppy, bolshie
North American informal scrappy
North American vulgar slang pissy
rare oppugnant
1.1Engaged in a war or conflict, as recognized by international law: a conference of socialists from all belligerent countries
More 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, contending, conflicting, clashing, quarrelling;
militant, militaristic, martial, warlike, warmongering, sabre-rattling, hawkish, gung-ho
informal at each other's throats


A nation or person engaged in war or conflict, as recognized by international law: ships and goods captured at sea by a belligerent
More 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: /bəˈlɪdʒərəntli/
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


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bel|li¦ger|ent

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