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  • Adj.




Butch the belligerent bully threatened the other students during lunchtime, punched them, and took their spending money from their pockets. The teacher who was supervising at last witnessed his belligerence, so Butch was hauled into the principal’s office to account for his aggressive actions. Schools try at all costs to stop belligerent and mean conduct since it tends to ruin a peaceful learning atmosphere.

Quiz: What will a belligerent person most likely do in an argument?

  • Become aggressive and want to fight.
  • Listen carefully to other viewpoints before speaking.
  • Try to stay calm and avoid getting angry.

Memory Hook

Liger Lent Licence The liger, or belligerent cross between the aggressive lion and the combative tiger, loves the genetic licence of belligerence it has to violently attack its prey.


  • If the biggest threat comes from rising powers, such as a belligerent Russia or a pushy China, America and its allies will need to invest in aircraft, ships and advanced weapons to cope. —The Economist
  • Booty, a former professional baseball and football player, was shocked with the stun gun after being "uncooperative and belligerent" while being booked into Orange County Jail, said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino. —Los Angeles Times

Word Ingredients

bell war, fighting, contention
-i- connective
ger bear, bring, carry
-ent being in a state or condition

If one is belligerent, one “is in a state or condition of bearing, bringing, or carrying war, fighting, or contention” against others.

Word Theater

Portlandia These store owners are being rather belligerent.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

belligerence n hostility or aggressiveness