Militant or terrorist

militant is a person who displays an attitude of aggressiveness to achieve his or her goals. He or she is not bothered by using sometimes extreme measures.

The main entry in the dictionary is as an adjective, though the noun form is the same spelling. Some dictionaries define this word as having to do with social or political causes or ideals, but others do not. The adverb form is militantly and an alternate noun form is militantness.

terrorist is someone who engages in violence (i.e. terrorism) to scare or frighten others to force them to act in a certain way, usually to advance the terrorist’s political goals. Terrorist can also be an adjective, with the same spelling as the noun form.

So all terrorists could also be described as militant, but not all militants end up being terrorists.


A militant belonging to Meghalaya-based A’Chik Songna An’Pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) was arrested and a cache of arms and ammunition seized from Goalpara district by a joint team of Army and Assam Police. [Zee News]

In a separate but apparently coordinated attack in the same town, Al-Arish, unidentified militants hurled an explosive device at an armored military vehicle early on Tuesday. [The New York Times]

But will there be enough there for Canadians to decide whether Zehaf-Bibeau’s thoughts reveal the actions of a jihadi terrorist, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper maintains, or those of a deranged lone wolf with a history of drug abuse and mental health problems. [CBC]

Banned organisation Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Sindh’s chief was killed on Monday along with three other terrorists during a clash with Rangers. [Pakistan Today]

1 thought on “Militant or terrorist”

  1. There is also another sense of the word ‘militant’, used in the phrase “the Church militant”. This sense describes the Christian church as struggling against the forces of sin and can be found in the opening of the Intercession in the (Anglican) Book of Common Prayer. It was also a phrase used in the old Roman Catholic catechism. Cf. the Church triumphant.


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