Wednesday Words (1)

Each Wednesday I present to you a loveable word and what it means. These are words that look or sound pleasing. This week we are starting the series with…


This is one of my favourite words. I think I first came across it in reference to the character of Curley in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. “His look was at once calculating and pugnacious.” I fell in love with the sound of it there and then.

The word pugnacious describes someone who is quick to argue or pick a fight. It dates from the mid-17th-century, deriving from the Latin pugnax (which is itself from pugnare (to fight)). It’s just such a wonderfully smug little word, isn’t it? (Can we all just take a moment also to appreciate what a brilliant word pugnax is? Bring back Latin!)