[ buh-lij-er-uhnt ]
/ 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

bel·lig·er·ent·ly, adverbin·ter·bel·lig·er·ent, adjectiveun·bel·lig·er·ent, adjectiveun·bel·lig·er·ent·ly, adverb

Can be confused

belligerence belligerents Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for belligerent

British Dictionary definitions for belligerent


/ (bɪˈlɪdʒərənt) /


marked by readiness to fight or argue; aggressivea belligerent tone
relating to or engaged in a legally recognized war or warfare


a person or country engaged in fighting or war

Word Origin for belligerent

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