Pugnacious is an adjective to describe something or someone as having a propensity to be difficult or contentious. The adverb is pugnaciously, the noun form is pugnaciousness, as well as, pugnacity. 

There is no relation to the dog breed pug, which was named after an obsolete word meaning monkey or hobgoblin.


His primary audience as the film begins is President Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), and the two share a pugnacious, if mutually respectful relationship. [Baltimore City Paper]

Aaron had given Warner a loud send-off, but the pugnacious opener responded in kind by echoing the bowler’s screams of “Come on!” when he was recalled to the crease. [The Telegraph]

Hall pushes back, pugnaciously defending his smoking, his “monumental” unkempt beard, which he intends “to carry into the grave,” and his disdain for euphemisms about death: “It is sensible of me to be aware that I will die one of these days. I will not pass away.” [Washington Post]

Boxer, who has long rankled conservatives because she has been such a pugnaciously liberal voice, has been a steadfast supporter of women’s rights, abortion rights, gun control and environmental protections. [Los Angeles Times]

Working without a blueprint means perhaps they are creating one, but whatever it is deserves some credit for its sheer pugnaciousness. They just don’t want to stay down and refuse to accept second-tier status. [CBS Chicago]

And both exhibited a pugnacity that, diplomatically at least, was hardly considered admirable. [Reuters]

If you ask non-Labor people how they remember Gough, they will speak of his pugnacity, his aggressiveness, his confrontational style. [Sydney Morning Herald]

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