[ kuhm-bat-nt, kom-buh-tuhnt, kuhm- ]
/ kəmˈbæt nt, ˈkɒm bə tənt, ˈkʌm- /
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See synonyms for: combatant / combatants on Thesaurus.com

a nation engaged in active fighting with enemy forces.
a person or group that fights.
combating; fighting: the combatant armies.
disposed to combat; combative.
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Origin of combatant

1425–75; late Middle English combataunt<Middle French combatant.See combat, -ant


pre·com·bat·ant, nounun·com·bat·ant, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does combatant mean?

A combatant is one of the sides engaged in combat—active fighting.

In war, enemy combatants are the opposing sides in the war or battle.

In boxing and other martial arts, the two fighters can be called combatants.

The word combat is sometimes used more broadly or figuratively to refer to active conflict between two people or groups, as in The two corporations are preparing to do combat in the courtroom. The sides in this kind of combat can also be called combatants.

Less commonly, combatant can be used as an adjective meaning engaged in fighting. It can also mean inclined to fight, but the word combative is more commonly used in this way.

Example: If diplomacy fails, the two nations could become enemy combatants.

Where does combatant come from?

The first records of the word combatant come from the 1400s. It comes from the Late Latin combattere, from com-, meaning “with” or “together,” and the Latin verb battuere, meaning “to strike” or “to beat.” The word battle is based on this same root. The suffix -ant is used to form nouns.

Just like there can’t be a battle without at least two sides, a person or group really can’t be considered a combatant unless they are engaged in combat with another combatant. The word is most often associated with physical fighting. Even when the word is used in a figurative way, it often likens the sides in the conflict to physical fighters, implying that the conflict is an intense one.

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What are some other forms related to combatant

What are some synonyms for combatant?

What are some words that share a root or word element with combatant

What are some words that often get used in discussing combatant?

How is combatant used in real life?

Combatant is most commonly used in a military context, but it can be used in many other contexts involving some kind of conflict.


Try using combatant!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of combatant?

A. adversary
B. ally
C. foe
D. fighter

How to use combatant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for combatant

/ (ˈkɒmbətənt, ˈkʌm-) /

a person or group engaged in or prepared for a fight, struggle, or dispute
engaged in or ready for combat
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