Definition of pugnacious in English:



  • Eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight.

    ‘the increasingly pugnacious demeanor of politicians’
    • ‘The milquetoast types of New Labour never come off well when they try to act like self-styled pugnacious political heavyweights.’
    • ‘As is well known, the robin is pugnacious, fighting with its own kind and attacking other birds.’
    • ‘A catfight breaks out between restless, wilful Miss Braund and her pugnacious chaperone, Mrs Hammond, ending with a slap from the hostess, the hatchet-faced Mrs Rogers.’
    • ‘Her other abiding passion came in the form of a pugnacious Labour politician, nicknamed ‘The Butcher’ for his savage attacks on the SNP.’
    • ‘Enthusiastic is one word that works, driven is another that can be recommended, there's pugnacious of course, and yet the best one might be ‘expert’.’
    • ‘A pugnacious manager opens the door and leads us to a living room filled with people - Palmer's son and daughter, his wife, and the man himself, looking dapper in brown leather shoes and a blue Savile Row shirt.’
    • ‘Bass being pugnacious and aggressive creatures by nature, the take is often a very violent affair.’
    • ‘The adult males are extremely pugnacious and fight fiercely with one another.’
    • ‘According to my bird book, bulbuls are pugnacious, and are still used as contestants in bulbul fights.’
    • ‘They absorbed a lot of pressure, their back four, hard-working and combative in face of opponents who were persistent and pugnacious.’
    • ‘He was an outspoken advocate of law reform, a pugnacious critic of established political doctrines like natural law and contractarianism, and the first to produce a utilitarian justification for democracy.’
    • ‘What a way to go for the most pugnacious, aggressive Liberal minister I've seen in action.’
    • ‘He had a walking stick and his whole manner was so pugnacious and focused.’
    • ‘His life was one of varied and significant achievements - an advocate at the Scottish bar, a sound if impatient and pugnacious judge of the Court of Session, and a politically active Whig.’
    • ‘The pugnacious, charismatic hectoring figure shown in his full glory on television in recent days also remains a prime candidate to host a similarly hard-hitting political talk show.’
    • ‘There's nothing - absolutely nothing - that the pugnacious little Dubliner likes better than standing centre stage, dodging the brickbats.’
    • ‘A pugnacious, charismatic figure, the potentially dicey situation he is facing at Rangers is small beer in comparison to the personal trauma he has overcome through sheer force of will.’
    • ‘The interviewer got nowhere with trying to manipulate or trip up the pugnacious trial lawyer turned politician.’
    • ‘After seven months as a mostly low-profile attorney general, he re-emerged as a pugnacious, crusading politician, fully in keeping with his past as one of the Senate's most passionately conservative members.’
    • ‘Has the world's most pugnacious advocate for the world's poor, a man who almost single-handedly brought the appalling images of famine-struck Africa into the front rooms of millions of Britons, finally gone too far?’
    combative, aggressive, antagonistic, belligerent, bellicose, warlike, quarrelsome, argumentative, contentious, disputatious, defiant, hostile, threatening, truculent
    irascible, fiery, hot-tempered, ill-tempered, bad-tempered, rough
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Mid 17th century: from Latin pugnax, pugnac- (from pugnare to fight from pugnus fist) + -ious.