March 12, 2019
pugnacious (adjective)
\pug-NAY-shus\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: showing a readiness to fight
How do you use it?
"Fortunately, however, Mr. Pyke confined himself to mere verbal smifligation, and they reached their box with no more serious interruption by the way, than a desire on the part of the same pugnacious gentleman to ‘smash' the assistant box-keeper for happening to mistake the number." (Charles Dickens, _Nicholas Nickleby_)
Are you a word wiz?

Given what you know about "pugnacious," what other words do you think have the same root word?

If you chose C, you won't get any argument from us. "Pugnacious," "impugn," and "repugnant" all stem from the Latin word "pugnare," meaning "to fight." The connection between "pugnacious" and "pugnare" is pretty clear, but what about "impugn" and "repugnant"? The verb "impugn" means to attack as false or as not trustworthy. If you impugn someone's character, for example, you bring a fight against it with words. "Repugnant" is an adjective that refers to something that causes distaste or dislike, came from the Latin verb "repugnare," which means "to fight against." If something is repugnant to you, then you fight against its influence. If you're wondering about the very odd word in the quote from _Nicholas Nickelby_, "smifligation" is an intentional misspelling of "spiflication," a 19th century word meaning "the act of overcoming with violence." Dickens is conveying a sense of Mr. Pyke's personality by having him use the word incorrectly.
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