Definition of militant in English:



  • Favouring confrontational or violent methods in support of a political or social cause.

    ‘the army are in conflict with militant groups’
    • ‘It was successful in inflicting a massive defeat on the most militant sections of the working class.’
    • ‘The newspaper found that the three teenagers were not members of any militant organisation, nor was one of the older men.’
    • ‘But just because the ability to organise is so important to us, socialists are always the most militant defenders of democratic rights.’
    • ‘The key question for students was to turn to the working class and arm this militant movement with a conscious socialist orientation.’
    • ‘One theme touched on was how the most militant activists should organise.’
    • ‘Yet the impact of war soon made the munitions centres fertile ground for militant trade unionism and socialist agitation.’
    • ‘The generals in turn used the opportunity to crack down on more militant opponents and stabilise the political situation.’
    • ‘At the same time, Britain's bosses faced a very militant working class determined to defend their jobs, wages and conditions.’
    • ‘She deserves to be recalled as someone who showed how militant working class women could be active in a world dominated by male trade unionists in the 1920s.’
    • ‘Ours is not a militant area, but support for the strike inside and outside the fire brigade remains high.’
    • ‘Health workers do not just need a more militant leadership, however, but an alternative political perspective.’
    • ‘On yet further occasions, she seems to represent a new intellectual phenomenon: militant social democracy.’
    • ‘Communism has been replaced by equally totalistic and militant forms of nationalism and religious fundamentalism.’
    • ‘It wasn't just the militant offices that walked out.’
    • ‘I've been amusing myself with the idea of militant liberalism or liberal extremists.’
    • ‘Some delegates expressed anger over their union leaders' failure to call national, militant action over both privatisation and low pay.’
    • ‘He was very much the acceptable face of militant republicanism.’
    • ‘The influx was to produce one of the state's most militant working class centres.’
    • ‘Once again, this stance expresses political passivity, this time dressed up in the garb of militant syndicalism.’
    • ‘We need to build a network of activists that can build militant protests against war, and can also deliver solidarity with all the groups of workers fighting back.’
    aggressive, violent, belligerent, bellicose, assertive, pushy, vigorous, forceful, active, ultra-active, fierce, combative, pugnacious
    radical, extremist, extreme
    enthusiastic, zealous, fanatical
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  • A militant person.

    ‘militants became increasingly impatient of parliamentary manoeuvres’
    • ‘In the ensuing gun battle one foreign militant was killed.’
    • ‘During the raid, the troops captured another militant in the apartment.’
    • ‘In the ensuing gun battle one militant was shot dead while his accomplice managed to slip into the other side.’
    • ‘An army spokeswoman said troops had caught up with another militant who had fled the scene of the attack and killed him.’
    • ‘Some militants become active late in life, others at an early age.’
    • ‘Northern Ireland's most notorious Protestant militant is back in jail.’
    activist, extremist, radical, enthusiast, supporter, follower, devotee, young turk, zealot, fanatic, sectarian, partisan
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘engaged in warfare’): from Old French, or from Latin militant- serving as a soldier, from the verb militare (see militate). The current sense dates from the early 20th century.