• Eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight.

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Example Sentences

“Dave was always pugnacious, so it was no surprise when he became a boxer.”

“The women on the reality dating show became more pugnacious after several of them were eliminated.”

“When making a seating chart for my classroom, I try not to seat any pugnacious students close together.”

Word Origin

Latin, mid-17th century

Why this word?

“Pugnacious” has its roots in the Latin words “pugnare” (“to fight”) and “pugnus” (“fist”), which explains why the adjective often describes boxers. The word can also be used as an adverb (“pugnaciously”) or as a noun (“pugnaciousness” and “pugnacity”). The word “pugilist” means “a boxer,” and it comes from the Latin word “pugil.”

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