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Combative   /kəmbˈætɪv/  /kˌɑmbˈætˌɪv/   Listen
Combative

adjective
1.
Inclined or showing an inclination to dispute or disagree, even to engage in law suits.  Synonyms: contentious, disputatious, disputative, litigious.  "A disputatious lawyer" , "A litigious and acrimonious spirit"
2.
Striving to overcome in argument.  Synonyms: agonistic, agonistical.
3.
Having or showing a ready disposition to fight.  Synonyms: battleful, bellicose.  "A combative impulse" , "A contentious nature"



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"Combative" Quotes from Famous Books



... and degree of civilization, proves that there must be a reason for it in the physical constitution of man. Its effect, when habitually used, is slightly narcotic and sedative, not stimulating—or if so, at times, it stimulates only the imagination and the social faculties. It lulls to sleep the combative and destructive propensities, and hence—so far as a material agent may operate—it exercises a humanizing and refining influence. A profound student of Man, whose name is well known to the world, ...
— The Lands of the Saracen - Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily, and Spain • Bayard Taylor

... scramble. Here, with heavy toll, they advanced; there, and with costlier sacrifice, they were driven back. Fiery Magyars, mechanical Teutons and stolid muzhiks mixed together in an indescribable hellbroth of combative fury and destructive passion. Screaming shells and spattered shrapnel rent the rocks and tore men in pieces by the thousand. Round the Lupkow Pass the Russians steadily carved their way forward, and at the close of the day, March 29, 1915, they had taken 76 ...
— The Story of the Great War, Volume V (of 12) - Neuve Chapelle, Battle of Ypres, Przemysl, Mazurian Lakes • Francis J. Reynolds, Allen L. Churchill, and Francis Trevelyan

... again, rather ostentatiously. She had never seen her brother-in-law in this combative mood before, and it made her a little uneasy; but she was not going to let him see that fact, so she answered ...
— People of Position • Stanley Portal Hyatt

... John, biting his lip with that resolute half-combative air which I now saw in him at times, roused by things which continually met him in his dealings with the world—things repugnant alike to his feelings and his principles, but which he had still to endure, ...
— John Halifax, Gentleman • Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

... least the two men were antitheses. Jonson was exceedingly combative and quarrelsome, and seems to have taken a chief part in all the bitter disputes of his time between actors and men of letters. He killed one actor in a duel and attacked Marston and Dekker in ...
— The Man Shakespeare • Frank Harris

... method by which the human mind estimates values. We would measure the strength of two men by pitting them against each other in physical encounter; in the same way, we are prone to measure the combative effect of weapons by pitting them in conflict against other weapons. But modern warfare is of so complex a nature that direct comparisons fail, and only a careful analysis of military experience determines the potentiality of ...
— The Journal of Submarine Commander von Forstner • Georg-Guenther von Forstner

... and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability ...
— The 2007 CIA World Factbook • United States

... and around him, in silent expectation and suspense, were grouped Gogo and Mimsey and my three cousins, and a good-humored freckled Irish boy I had quite forgotten, and I suddenly remembered that his name was Johnstone, that he was very combative, and that he lived in the Rue Basse (now ...
— Peter Ibbetson • George du Marier et al

... was not by temperament vindictive; he was irascible, as the vain are—combative, aggressive, turbulent, by the impulse of animal spirits; but the premeditation of vengeance was foreign to a levity and egotism which abjured the self-sacrifice that is equally necessary to hatred as to love. ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... upon the coveted prize the bird would tear herself away, and, apparently faint and sobbing, retire to a higher branch. His reputed powers of fascination availed him little, though it is possible that a frailer and less combative bird might have been held by the fatal spell. Presently, as he came gliding down the slender body of a leaning alder, his attention was attracted by a slight movement of my arm; eyeing me an instant, with that crouching, utterly motionless gaze which I believe only snakes and devils ...
— Bird Stories from Burroughs - Sketches of Bird Life Taken from the Works of John Burroughs • John Burroughs

... lunched punctually at a quarter past two, and three Treasury clerks and one novelist who lunched at one; accordingly, at half-past one, he presented himself in Berkeley Square, to be informed by a sedately combative butler that luncheon was at two o'clock but that Barbara was believed ...
— The Education of Eric Lane • Stephen McKenna

... race; contend &c. for, stipulate for, stickle for; insist upon, make a point of. Adj. contending &c. v.; together by the ears, at loggerheads at war at issue. competitive, rival; belligerent; contentious, combative, bellicose, unpeaceful[obs3]; warlike &c. 722; quarrelsome &c. 901; pugnacious; pugilistic, gladiatorial; palestric[obs3], palestrical[obs3]. Phr. a verbis ad verbera[Lat]; a word and a blow; "a very pretty quarrel as it stands" [Sheridan]; commune periculum ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... it with delight. Still the same poetical, combative, impulsive creature, with the deep soft voice! She pleased his senses; she stirred his mind; and he would have thrown himself into one of the old Rapallo arguments with her then and there but for the gad-fly ...
— The Testing of Diana Mallory • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... rescuing the cloistered sisters. The greater the danger its solution might involve him in, the more impossible it seemed at first sight, the more gladly, in his present mood, would he undertake it. He stepped out into the road and closed the door behind him with a feeling of combative energy. ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... into vehemence, marks also Roosevelt's political essays, and yet he had time for reflection, and if you examine closely even some of his combative passages, you will see that they do not spring from sudden anger or scorn, but from a conviction which has matured slowly in him. He had not the philosophic calm which formed the background of Burke's political masterpieces, but he ...
— Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography, • William Roscoe Thayer

... they heard of the mighty entertainment fixed for Besworth Lawn by Mr. Pericles, looked down. They were invited, and looked up. There was the usual amount of fencing with the combative Laura, who gave ground at all points, and as she was separating, said (so sweetly!) "Of course you have heard of the arrest of your—what does one call ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... have often observed the likeness of certain men to certain animals, and of certain dogs to men. Now, I never looked at Rab without thinking of the great Baptist preacher, Andrew Fuller. The same large, heavy, menacing, combative, sombre, honest countenance, the same deep inevitable eye, the same look—as of thunder asleep, but ready—neither a dog nor a man to be ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 6 • Charles H. Sylvester

... to his feet and spread himself into a fighting attitude, for all the world like a half-dead bantam cock springing into a new lease of combative life. ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... reduced to a rather combative group: keen, logical, inquiring minds, not overly sensitive, the very kind he liked least; while, as for me—I became quite cocky over my ...
— Herland • Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman

... of Shakespeare's "Seven Ages" the Eskimo plays a very unimportant role. Perhaps in no other race is the combative instinct less predominant; in none is quarrelling, fierceness of disposition, and jealousy more conspicuously absent, and in none does the desire for the factitious renown of war exist in a more rudimentary ...
— The First Landing on Wrangel Island - With Some Remarks on the Northern Inhabitants • Irving C. Rosse

... should accumulate enough from the sale of milk to buy screens before flytime as that lady herself since Essie sustained his interest by daily account of the addition to the screen fund. He was still thinking of the combative Mrs. Tutts when he opened a book and sat down by the ...
— The Lady Doc • Caroline Lockhart

... Gard was struck by the presence of various weapons, and shields, hunting horns, sundry pairs of large boots, military or shooting garments, belts loaded with cartridges. It seemed almost like the combative entry to some museum of armor. Taken together with the embattled dog, it suggested a defended fortress rather than ...
— Villa Elsa - A Story of German Family Life • Stuart Henry

... as he watched the sweet face of the singer, and listened to the words of the song, a sudden fierce determination rose in his mind. He would devote all his energies to winning Mary Grant for his wife; combative and self-confident as he was by nature, he felt no dismay at the difficulties in his way. He had been on a borderline long enough. Here was his chance to rise at a bound, and he determined to succeed ...
— An Outback Marriage • Andrew Barton Paterson

... intellect of great analytic and destructive force, he was almost entirely lacking in imagination, and he was therefore unable to raise his work to a plane in which the mutually combative elements of his nature might have been reconciled. His light moments of envy, anger, and vanity passed into the crucible to come forth unchanged. He lacked the magic wand, and his work never took wings ...
— The Ghost Ship • Richard Middleton

... case then came on appeal before the judicial committee of the privy council, and here a majority with the two archbishops as assessors reversed the decision of the court below. The bishop, one of the most combative of the human race, flew to Westminster Hall, tried move upon move in queen's bench, exchequer, common pleas; declared that his archbishop had abused his high commission; and even actually renounced communion with him. But the sons of Zeruiah ...
— The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 1 (of 3) - 1809-1859 • John Morley

... When one has to perform a painful duty there is no use in lingering over it; and when one is secretly troubled, a spoken and too discursive sympathy only irritates our mental membrane. How could Job, for example, tolerate the sackcloth and ashes, and, worse still, the combative ...
— The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. VIII: No. 356, October 23, 1886. • Various

... collegiate intrigues. On the advocates' platform in particular—the only field of legal opposition left open by Sulla—even in the regent's lifetime such aspirants waged lively war against the restoration with the weapons of formal jurisprudence and combative oratory: for instance, the adroit speaker Marcus Tullius Cicero (born 3rd January 648), son of a landholder of Arpinum, speedily made himself a name by the mingled caution and boldness of his opposition to the dictator. Such efforts were not of much importance, if the opponent ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... booming voice of Charles W. Furse was frequently heard, but in it a suspicion of an Academic note unfamiliar in our midst, so that, young as he was, combative, enthusiastic, "a good fellow" as they say in England, still in his Whistler and rebel period, his friends predicted for him the Presidency of the Royal Academy. The first time I ever saw him was the year he was ...
— Nights - Rome, Venice, in the Aesthetic Eighties; London, Paris, in the Fighting Nineties • Elizabeth Robins Pennell

... panegyrist of war places himself on the lowest level on which a moralist or patriot can stand and shows as great a want of refined feeling as of right reason. For the glories of war are all blood-stained, delirious, and infected with crime; the combative instinct is a savage prompting by which one man's good is found in another's evil. The existence of such a contradiction in the moral world is the original sin of nature, whence flows every other wrong. He is a willing accomplice of that perversity in things who delights ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... away discontented with himself for having yielded: my lord did not call it "yielding," but "being defeated." And as he was not only very deep in love, but by nature combative, he took a lodging nearly opposite No. 66, and made hot love to her, as hot as if the attachment was just forming. Her mother could not go out but he was at the door directly: she could not go out but he was at her heels. This pleased her at first and ...
— Hard Cash • Charles Reade

... fell aslant upon his stately figure as he drew himself up to his full height, and greeted Leigh with a suavely condescending bow and smile, while Aubrey in turn glanced him up and down with a pleasurable consciousness of his intellectual appearance, and evident combative temperament. ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... relations between Zalapata and Atlamalco. They had been at war before, with the advantage at times on one side and then on the other, the final result being no decisive change in their mutual strength or in their combative propensities. The addition of a "gunboat" to the power of Atlamalco naturally made her more aggressive and demonstrative. President Bambos dreamed of acquiring two similar engines of war, when he would ...
— Up the Forked River - Or, Adventures in South America • Edward Sylvester Ellis

... moral phrenology the professor might have marked the organ of secretiveness as very large, and that of conscientiousness omitted. He was, however, proverbially good natured, very rarely, if ever, indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation, and yet was never known to laugh. Albeit, he seemed to be the pride of his indulgent father, who has been heard to boast of him as the 'genus of the family,' ...
— The Story of the Mormons: • William Alexander Linn

... which he had brought from Magan, but there is no mention in them of any war. His son Akurgal was also a builder of temples, but his grandson Idingiranagin, who succeeded Akurgal, was a warlike and combative prince. ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 3 (of 12) • G. Maspero

... person proved to be Jarvis Hammon. He was hatless, purple-faced, shaken with combative fury. At first the two new- comers thought he was dangerously drunk, but, as they mounted to the tiled terrace which served as an outdoor eating-place they saw their mistake. Recognizing Merkle, Hammon's manner ...
— The Auction Block • Rex Beach

... beside its dam. Yonder a solitary ancient and shaggy bull stood apart, sullen and brooding. Nearer a colossal chieftain, glossy, black, and weighing two thousand pounds moved from group to group, restless and combative, wrinkling his ridiculously small nose, and uttering a deep, menacing, muttering roar. His rivals, though they slunk away, gave utterance to similar sinister snarls, as if voicing bitter resentment. They did not bellow, ...
— A Daughter of the Middle Border • Hamlin Garland

... shipment to England, had been fired—burned to the ground. The capture of Beaufort, near which was another plantation of his, had made further wreck for him, financially, and whatever the foreign doctors might to with his body, his mind was back in Carolina, eager, questioning, combative. He was burning himself up with a fever ...
— The Bondwoman • Marah Ellis Ryan

... ease 'among refined people,' and I should not have ascribed his dogmatic tone, when he adopted it, to his resentment at finding himself out of keeping with his society. A spirit of self-assertion was engrained in him, and it was supported by a combative temperament. As he was proud of his bodily prowess, and rather given to parade it, so he took the same view of an argument as of a battle with fists, and thought that manliness required him to be determined and unflinching. But this, ...
— George Borrow and His Circle - Wherein May Be Found Many Hitherto Unpublished Letters Of - Borrow And His Friends • Clement King Shorter

... unpalatable to Dalaber, who was in a less combative mood now than he had been of late. He had been threatened with excommunication, and indeed for a while there was no hope that he would be regarded as a fit person to receive the holy rite. That in itself was terrible to his devout spirit, and when any person spoke gently and kindly ...
— For the Faith • Evelyn Everett-Green

... characteristics partly explain why he placed himself in opposition to the spirit of the age. He was extremely combative. It was almost a necessity for him to quarrel with some person or with some opinion. He killed two men in duels, and he would probably have been hanged, if he had not pleaded benefit of clergy. For the greater part of ...
— Halleck's New English Literature • Reuben P. Halleck

... half a score of times) who regret the abolition of the ring, on grounds of public policy. We argue that man is a fighting animal, and that in the days of the ring there was a recognised code of rules which regulated his conduct at times when the combative instinct was not to be restrained. We observe that our commonalty now use the knife in quarrel, and we regret the death of that rough principle of honour which once imposed itself upon the worst of rowdies. But there is little ...
— My Contemporaries In Fiction • David Christie Murray

... sir?" said Jones, who kept a tailor's establishment, and, as a tailor, was something of a fighting man himself. Of all tradesmen in London the tailors are, no doubt, the most combative,—as might be expected from the necessity which lies upon them of living down the general bad character in this respect which the world has wrongly given them. "What's it all about, sir?" said Jones, still ...
— Can You Forgive Her? • Anthony Trollope

... lasted. He was cheerful, communicative, conciliatory, nobody's remarks upset him, nothing seemed worth getting angry about. Fray Diego, on the contrary, who, in his normal condition, was always a jovial, jocose priest, turned into a very devil for disputing and nagging, and he betrayed a combative disposition that nobody would have suspected under his round, placid ...
— The Grandee • Armando Palacio Valds

... County, Ohio, in 1831. It is said that, in his early love of freedom, he formed a strong attachment for horses, and, to gratify this feeling, he ran away from home and became a driver on the canal. Possessing remarkable endurance, and great strength, with no small amount of combative spirit, he soon became a "shoulder-hitter," whipping all opponents who were any way near his own age, and becoming a terror to the quarrelsome rowdies who had previously ruled ...
— Incidents of the War: Humorous, Pathetic, and Descriptive • Alf Burnett

... could tell when Captain La Roche would take it into his head to pounce down upon us and pick up a stray bird, should the frigate be at a distance. He would have had no chance, however, with the Indiamen, whose officers were in a very combative mood. Not long before a very gallant action had been performed by a squadron of them in the Eastern seas—indeed, no country ever possessed a body of officers in her mercantile marine equal to those of ...
— James Braithwaite, the Supercargo - The Story of his Adventures Ashore and Afloat • W.H.G. Kingston

... extra mural problems, the periodicals record, of course, the events and the interests of the little college world. Through the "Free Press" columns of these papers, the didactic, critical, and combative impulses, always so strong in the undergraduate temperament, find a safe vent. Mentor and agitator alike are welcomed in the "Free Press", and many college reforms have been inaugurated, and many college grievances—real ...
— The Story of Wellesley • Florence Converse

... soldierly hardiness he had taken his rest in his war-harness, he was unhelmed, and the light that revealed the protruding chin had no need to pick out the jewelled diadem to mark him as Edmund Ironside. The irregularity was very slight—not large enough to give him a combative look or to mar the fine proportions of his face, but it did unquestionably add to his stately bearing an expression of complacency that ...
— The Ward of King Canute • Ottilie A. Liljencrantz

... florid, with square forehead, heavy brows, and keen blue eyes, he looked determined and fearless. His courage, however, was not the rashness of an impetuous nature. It was rather the proud self-confidence of a rugged character which obstacles roused to a higher combative energy. He was not eloquent; not even ornate in diction. But his voice, his words, and his delivery were all adequate. Besides, he possessed the incomparable gift of reserved power. During his career of ten years in the State Senate he was unquestionably the ...
— A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3 • DeAlva Stanwood Alexander

... might learn How a man should uphold the sports of his land, And strike his best with a strong right hand, And take his strokes in return. "'Twas a barbarous practice," the Quaker cries, "'Tis a thing of the past, thank heaven"— Keep your thanks till the combative instinct dies With the taint of the olden leaven; Yes, the times are changed, for better or worse, The prayer that no harm befall Has given its place to a drunken curse, And the manly game to ...
— Poems • Adam Lindsay Gordon

... there be no mistake about one thing. Here prayer is a power. Here God can indeed work miracles. A man with the light of God in his heart can defeat vicious habits, rise again combative and undaunted after a hundred falls, escape from the grip of lusts and revenges, make head against despair, thrust back the very onset of madness. He is still the same man he was before he came to God, still ...
— God The Invisible King • Herbert George Wells

... isolated position from the necessity of contending against outside aggression, the inhabitants of the United States have expended their combative energies against the weaker peoples with whom ...
— The American Empire • Scott Nearing

... love, though it may seem absurd to say so. It may, therefore, be called a rest cure for aspirations and higher ambitions and anxieties and all the nobler discontents. To Molly it was youth and fun and brightness and forgetfulness. There was no leisure to be morbid, no occasion to be bitter or combative. The game of life was too bright and smooth, above all ...
— Great Possessions • Mrs. Wilfrid Ward

... physical or moral deterioration which interferes with their fighting capacity. The soldiers of these civilized peoples are just as ready for hand-to-hand encounters with cold steel as any barbarians or savages have ever been. The primitive combative instincts remain in full force and can be brought into play by all the belligerents with facility. The progress of the war should have removed any delusions on this subject which Germany, Austria-Hungary, or ...
— New York Times Current History: The European War, Vol 2, No. 1, April, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... literary capacity. This is the most outre and absurd of all Gall's locations. Placing this selfish and grasping propensity in the front lobe which belongs to intellect, when it really belongs to the selfish, adhesive, and combative elements of the occiput, is an error of so extravagant a character as to show that Gall had no correct psychology in his mind, and no capacity or desire to construct a harmonious system. Spurzheim's location, much farther back, is somewhat less erroneous, ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, October 1887 - Volume 1, Number 9 • Various

... Every novice probably feels that when he watches his first rival heading earthward, with a mile or more to fall before he strikes. Still, Tom grimly held his feelings in check. A successful air pilot, especially when he manages a fighting craft, can not let sentiment get the better of his combative spirit. It is a fair test of skill and endurance, and as a rule the better man wins the game. And war must always be an exhibition of cruelty in that human lives are the ...
— Air Service Boys Over The Enemy's Lines - The German Spy's Secret • Charles Amory Beach

... consideration of main national characteristics. It is—for one thing—very much the nature of the Briton to look on life as a game with victory or defeat at the end of it, and to feel it impossible that he can be defeated. He is not so much concerned to "live" as to win this life match. He is combative from one minute to the next, reacts instantly against any attempt to down him. The war for him is a round in this great personal match of his with Fate, and he is completely caught up in the idea of winning it. He is spared that double consciousness of the French ...
— Another Sheaf • John Galsworthy



Words linked to "Combative" :   disputative, competitive, competitory, aggressive, combat, argumentative



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