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 formsbel·lig·er·ent·ly, adverbin·ter·bel·lig·er·ent, adjectiveun·bel·lig·er·ent, adjectiveun·bel·lig·er·ent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedbelligerence belligerents

Synonyms for belligerent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for belligerently

Historical Examples of belligerently

  • "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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for belligerently



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

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