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[buh-lij-er-uh nt] /bəˈlɪdʒ ər ənt/
warlike; given to waging war.
of warlike character; aggressively hostile; bellicose:
a belligerent tone.
waging war; engaged in war:
a peace treaty between belligerent powers.
pertaining to war or to those engaged in war:
belligerent rights.
a state or nation at war.
a member of the military forces of such a state.
Origin of belligerent
1570-80; < Latin belliger waging war (belli-, combining form of bellum war + ger-, base of gerere to conduct) + -ent; replacing belligerant < Latin belligerant- (stem of belligerāns, present participle of belligerāre to wage war; see -ant)
Related forms
belligerently, adverb
interbelligerent, adjective
unbelligerent, adjective
unbelligerently, adverb
Can be confused
belligerence, belligerents.
2. pugnacious, truculent, combative, quarrelsome, antagonistic, contentious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for belligerently
Historical Examples
  • "Well, I can get around faster than that," said Donald belligerently.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • For some tense seconds Huntington and Haig faced each other belligerently.

    The Heart of Thunder Mountain Edfrid A. Bingham
  • From its folds emerged the red head of Jimmie, belligerently.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • "I don't want it if it's not going to mean anything after I get it," he said belligerently.

    Cubs of the Wolf Raymond F. Jones
  • "Just because it's not on the teledepth, you say it's a lie," the farmer said belligerently.

    The Stutterer R.R. Merliss
  • "Don't you lay a finger on me," ordered Miss Metoaca belligerently.

    The Lost Despatch Natalie Sumner Lincoln
  • "Pardon me," the militant suffragette declared, belligerently.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • “You got to say, ‘Excuse me for them words,’” he said belligerently.

    Eve to the Rescue

    Ethel Hueston
  • Look at that, he said, belligerently, dropping the knife on Jims desk with a bang.

    Sudden Jim Clarence Budington Kelland
  • Something black, the size of a fair-sized dog, faced him belligerently.

    Planet of Dread Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for belligerently


marked by readiness to fight or argue; aggressive: a belligerent tone
relating to or engaged in a legally recognized war or warfare
a person or country engaged in fighting or war
Word Origin
C16: from Latin belliger, from bellum war + gerere to wage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belligerently



1570s, from Latin belligerantem (nominative belligerans), past participle of belligerare "to wage war," from bellum "war" (see bellicose) + gerere "to bear, to carry" (see gest). The noun meaning "party or nation at war" is from 1811. Related: Belligerently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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