Last modified on 28 May 2014, at 21:10




Latin, a form of pugnō (I fight), from pugnus (fist), from Proto-Indo-European roots.



pugnacious (comparative more pugnacious, superlative most pugnacious)

  1. Naturally aggressive or hostile; combative; belligerent.
    • 1858, Anthony Trollope, Dr Thorne, ch. 3:
      Not that the doctor was a bully, or even pugnacious, in the usual sense of the word; he had no disposition to provoke a fight, no propense love of quarrelling.
    • 1904, Jack London, The Sea Wolf, ch. 15:
      As he made the demand he spat out a mouthful of blood and teeth and shoved his pugnacious face close to Oofty-Oofty.
    • 2003, Ken Follett, Hornet Flight, ISBN 9780451210746, pp. 249-250:
      In the face of bad news Churchill normally became even more pugnacious, always wanting to respond to defeat by going on the attack.


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