Try Our Apps


World Series Quiz


[puhg-ney-shuh s] /pʌgˈneɪ ʃəs/
inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.
Origin of pugnacious
1635-45; pugnaci(ty) (< Latin pugnācitās combativeness, equivalent to pugnāci-, stem of pugnāx combative (akin to pugil; see pugilism) + -tās -ty2) + -ous
Related forms
pugnaciously, adverb
[puhg-nas-i-tee] /pʌgˈnæs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
pugnaciousness, noun
unpugnacious, adjective
unpugnaciously, adverb
unpugnaciousness, noun
argumentative, contentious, bellicose.
agreeable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pugnacious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He has been seen to give battle to three pugnacious bull elk at once, and has killed numbers of them in single combat.

    Down the Yellowstone Lewis R. Freeman
  • “Wait,” returned the more experienced and pugnacious prelate.

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • He was of gentle Scottish birth, but his own acquaintances declared that he was of a "quarrelsome and pugnacious disposition."

  • It soon grew as impudent and pugnacious and ravenous as most sparrows.

  • This element unites in agreement all the pugnacious sectaries who join battle over the other elements of the former faith.

    The Feast of St. Friend Arnold Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for pugnacious


readily disposed to fight; belligerent
Derived Forms
pugnaciously, adverb
pugnacity (pʌɡˈnæsɪtɪ), pugnaciousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin pugnāx
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pugnacious

1640s, a back-formation from pugnacity or else from Latin pugnacis, genitive of pugnax "combative, fond of fighting," from pugnare "to fight," especially with the fists, "contend against," from pugnus "a fist," from PIE *pung-, nasalized form of root *peuk-, *peug- "to stick, stab, to prick" (cf. Greek pyx "with clenched fist," pygme "fist, boxing," pyktes "boxer;" Latin pungere "to pierce, prick").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pugnacious

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pugnacious

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for pugnacious