V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: being inclined or showing a disposition to fight

Synonyms: aggressive, quarrelsome, warlike, hostile, contentious, antagonistic, pugnacious, belligerent

Antonyms: peaceable, amicable, gentle

Tips: Both bellicose and its synonym belligerent come from the Latin word bellum, meaning "war." Bellicose is from bellicosus and belligerent from belligerare, which means "to wage war." The difference between the words is subtle, but belligerent is more likely to connote someone or something (such as a nation) that is already at war, while bellicose tends to imply an inclination toward war and fighting. The word belligerent is often used to describe someone who has been drinking and is looking for a fight. It has been used so much in this context that people often mistake the word for meaning "drunk" (e.g. he was belligerent last night), but this is not a correct use.

Usage Examples:

As a child, his bellicose attitude had led him to the principal's office for fighting, more times than he could count. (antagonistic, contentious, quarrelsome)

The new Prime Minister regarded the bellicose nations with concern, because he did not want his own country drawn into the war. (warring, hostile)

One of these days, your bellicose nature is going to get you arrested. (aggressive, belligerent)

The young man was against any kind of fighting and steered clear of bellicose individuals. (hostile, quarrelsome)

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