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[kuh m-bat-iv, kom-buh-tiv, kuhm-] /kəmˈbæt ɪv, ˈkɒm bə tɪv, ˈkʌm-/
ready or inclined to fight; pugnacious:
He displayed a most unpleasant, combative attitude.
Origin of combative
First recorded in 1825-35; combat + -ive
Related forms
combatively, adverb
combativeness, combativity
[kom-buh-tiv-i-tee] /ˌkɒm bəˈtɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
uncombative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for combative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Tidditt, diminutive but combative, offered a suggestion.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • “And another reason why I like you is because you are combative,” he said thoughtfully.

    Adam Johnstone's Son

    F. Marion Crawford
  • Something in his tone roused a combative instinct in his companion.

    Marriage la mode Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • They made many mistakes; they were combative, often difficult to deal with.

    Victorian Worthies

    George Henry Blore
  • For Mr. Adams was by nature not only independent, but resentful and combative.

    John Quincy Adams John. T. Morse
British Dictionary definitions for combative


/ˈkɒmbətɪv; ˈkʌm-/
eager or ready to fight, argue, etc; aggressive
Derived Forms
combatively, adverb
combativeness, noun
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 combative

1819, from combat + -ive. In 1820s-30s, much associated with phrenology. Related: Combatively; combativeness (1815).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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