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[buh-lij-er-uh nt] /bəˈlɪdʒ ər ənt/
warlike; given to waging war.
of warlike character; aggressively hostile; bellicose:
a belligerent tone.
waging war; engaged in war:
a peace treaty between belligerent powers.
pertaining to war or to those engaged in war:
belligerent rights.
a state or nation at war.
a member of the military forces of such a state.
Origin of belligerent
1570-80; < Latin belliger waging war (belli-, combining form of bellum war + ger-, base of gerere to conduct) + -ent; replacing belligerant < Latin belligerant- (stem of belligerāns, present participle of belligerāre to wage war; see -ant)
Related forms
belligerently, adverb
interbelligerent, adjective
unbelligerent, adjective
unbelligerently, adverb
Can be confused
belligerence, belligerents.
2. pugnacious, truculent, combative, quarrelsome, antagonistic, contentious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for belligerently
  • The owners of such dogs rarely apologize and sometimes behave as belligerently as their animals.
  • They said that after he showed up at the station to register his car, he acted belligerently toward officers, and was arrested.
  • Yet sometimes they battled one another, as when dancers almost belligerently pushed other dancers backward.
  • One of the victims said the gunman had been asked to leave because he had been behaving belligerently toward other patrons.
  • Imagine millions of conscious little blood cells trying belligerently to understand the body they float through.
  • He is accused of responding belligerently when the flight crew confronted him about smoking.
  • It may be frightening if a student belligerently attacks others in an intoxicated state.
  • When officers contacted her she behaved belligerently toward them and refused to identify herself.
  • Appellant belligerently repeated his demand for the return of his money.
British Dictionary definitions for belligerently


marked by readiness to fight or argue; aggressive: a belligerent tone
relating to or engaged in a legally recognized war or warfare
a person or country engaged in fighting or war
Word Origin
C16: from Latin belliger, from bellum war + gerere to wage
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
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Word Origin and History for belligerently



1570s, from Latin belligerantem (nominative belligerans), past participle of belligerare "to wage war," from bellum "war" (see bellicose) + gerere "to bear, to carry" (see gest). The noun meaning "party or nation at war" is from 1811. Related: Belligerently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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