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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?

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

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.


  • According to the police report, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Davis became upset and belligerent when he was denied access to the room, then threatened to fight hotel security. —Sports Illustrated
  • Some Nato members believed that the authority to do so was based on the belligerent right of visit and search, while others claimed that Nato was not involved in an international armed conflict, a predicate for the belligerent right. —BNET
  • What was once a somber, heart-wrenching decision for a parent and something children often resisted — medicating a child’s mind — has now become a widely used technique in parenting a belligerent child. —The Washington Post
  • 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

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