Belligerent Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Are you always in a mood to fight? If so, belligerent might be a good word to describe your personality — but what does it mean? We’ll tell you. 

Read on to discover the definition behind belligerent, its origin, synonyms, and more. By the end of this post, you should have a clear understanding of what belligerent means and even feel comfortable using it in a sentence. Are you ready?

Let’s get started.  

What Is the Definition of Belligerent?

Our word of the day, belligerent — pronounced buh-lij-er-uhnt with stress on the second syllable — is an adjective meaning warlike, aggressive, and hostile and/or showing a readiness to quarrel. 

Alternatively, according to the Oxford English Dictionary belligerent can also be used as a noun for a person or nation engaged in conflict or war, as recognized by international law.

What Is the Etymology of Belligerent?

Belligerent was first documented in the 1570s as a derivative of the Latin belligerantem (which is a normative of Latin belligerāns) and the present participle of belligerāre. Belligerent also derives from the Latin word for war (bellum) and gerere, meaning “to carry, to wage, to bear.” 

It was not until 1811 that belligerent was used as a noun for a nation or party at war.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Belligerent?

When looking for a word to describe someone who is hostile and aggressive, you may land on belligerent. However, did you know that there are other words that can be used to describe combativeness? These are synonyms, AKA words with the same or nearly the same meaning as belligerent.

Now, if you’re looking to describe someone who is kind and non-argumentive, on the other hand, you may use an antonym of belligerent as opposed to a synonym. Antonyms are words or phrases that have contrasting — or opposite — meanings. 

With this in mind, let’s open up a thesaurus to review some synonyms and antonyms of our word of the day.

Synonyms of Belligerent

  • Battler 
  • Antagonistic 
  • Warlike 
  • Argumentative 
  • Aggressive
  • Have a bone to pick
  • Loudmouthed
  • Captious
  • Noncompliant
  • Bloody minded 
  • Awkward
  • Obstructive 
  • Have it in for
  • Mean
  • Troublesome 
  • Lawbreaking 
  • Have a chip on my shoulder 
  • Litigious
  • At each other’s throats  
  • Ornery
  • Hard to handle 
  • Quick-tempered 
  • Spoiling for a fight
  • Bellicose
  • Difficult to handle 
  • At war
  • Pugnacious 
  • Battle-hardened 
  • Looking for trouble 
  • On the outs
  • At loggerheads
  • Scrapper 
  • Cantankerous 
  • At daggers drawn
  • Combatant 

Antonyms of Belligerent 

  • Friendly 
  • Peaceable
  • So as to pour oil on troubled waters
  • Makeup
  • Nice
  • Nonbelligerent 
  • Good-humored 
  • Easygoing
  • Kind
  • Company loving 
  • Nonviolent
  • Laidback
  • Submissive
  • Easy going
  • Obedient
  • Neutral
  • Well disposed 
  • Placatory
  • Without hostility 
  • Reticent
  • Acquiescent 
  • Dominant 
  • Biddable
  • Amenable
  • Nonconfrontationa

How Can You Use Belligerent in a Sentence?

By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of what our word of the day means, but do you know how to use it in a sentence? Not to worry; we’ve put together a list of example sentences for you to study below: 

“In times of war, many opt to join the medical corps. in their desired branch of the military, as they wish to help their peers but do not wish to join in any belligerent acts.” 

“The USA doesn’t put up with belligerent nations or their belligerent leaders.”

“That random house on the corner of Berry Street is full of belligerent people that I honestly want nothing to do with.”

“Being belligerent to the customer service representative isn’t going to make them want to help you, so I advise changing your attitude if you ever want to get assistance.”

“Mark was surely going to pay for his belligerent behavior. All that was left was for his father to arrive home to dole out the punishment.” 

“Did you know that any two or more nations at war are called belligerent powers?”

“I never really looked at Macy as a belligerent person, but after today new light has sadly been shed.” 

“Your aggressive and downright belligerent tone has no place in this conversation, nor is it welcomed.”

“The toddler’s belligerent attitude is surely the reason why her mom put her down for an early nap.”

“Look, I understand that you’re upset, but under no circumstances will I put up with your belligerent attitude.”

“The teenager was sent to the principles office due to his belligerent behavior in class this morning.”

“My toxic ex-boyfriend was always belligerent and ready to fight.”

“If you ask me, the company’s belligerent attitude towards the dispute is appalling.”

What Are Translations of Belligerent?

Read on to discover the many translations of belligerent, provided by the Cambridge English Dictionary:

  • Chinese (traditional) — 好斗的, 挑衅的, 交战的
  • French — agressif, belligérant
  • Spanish — agresivo, beligerante, enemigo
  • Portuguese — beligerante, agressivo
  • Czech — hašteřivý, útočný, válčící
  • Polish — wojowniczy
  • Indonesian — penuh kebencian, suka berkelahi, menyatakan perang
  • Turkish — münakaşa eden, ağız dalaşını seven
  • Italian — belligerante
  • Danish — aggressiv, krigerisk, krigsførende
  • Thai — เป็นปฏิปักษ์, ที่กำลังทำสงคราม
  • Vietnamese — không thân thiện, tham chiến
  • Malay — menunjukkan hendak berkelahi, negara-negara yang berperang
  • German — streitlustig, Krieg führend
  • Norwegian — krigersk, stridbar, krigførende
  • Russian — воинственный


If someone is called belligerent, it is safe to say that person is ready to fight. 

You can also use belligerent to reference nations taking part in wars, as they are also called belligerents. More often than not, you will see belligerent used to describe a psychological disposition towards being aggressive and hostile. 


Belligerent: definition | Cambridge English Dictionary 

Belligerent English Definition and Meaning | 

Belligerent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary