[kuh m-bat-iv, kom-buh-tiv, kuhm-]


ready or inclined to fight; pugnacious: He displayed a most unpleasant, combative attitude.

Origin of combative

First recorded in 1825–35; combat + -ive
Related formscom·bat·ive·ly, adverbcom·bat·ive·ness, com·ba·tiv·i·ty [kom-buh-tiv-i-tee] /ˌkɒm bəˈtɪv ɪ ti/, nounun·com·bat·ive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for combative

Contemporary Examples of combative

Historical Examples of combative

  • 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



eager or ready to fight, argue, etc; aggressive
Derived Formscombatively, adverbcombativeness, 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

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