• synonyms


  1. inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.
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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 formspug·na·cious·ly, adverbpug·nac·i·ty [puhg-nas-i-tee] /pʌgˈnæs ɪ ti/, pug·na·cious·ness, nounun·pug·na·cious, adjectiveun·pug·na·cious·ly, adverbun·pug·na·cious·ness, noun



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pugnaciously

Historical Examples

  • "We'll go down and talk to this Don Loris," he said pugnaciously.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • "This is not at all pleasant," said Captain Sydenham pugnaciously.

    The Art of Disappearing

    John Talbot Smith

  • "Call me 'sir' when you address me," ordered Kennell pugnaciously.

  • He did not say, I am sorry you were not at church, as Ben Trawl pugnaciously expected.

    A Singular Life

    Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

  • Then, too, she was pugnaciously loyal to the glories of the best parlor.

    The Portion of Labor

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

British Dictionary definitions for pugnaciously


  1. readily disposed to fight; belligerent
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Derived Formspugnaciously, adverbpugnacity (pʌɡˈnæsɪtɪ) or 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

Word Origin and History for pugnaciously



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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper