by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

truculent adj. 

  1. Savage and cruel; fierce. 
  2. Vitriolic; scathing. 
  3. Disposed to fight; pugnacious; defiant. 
When one first hears a word, whether in childhood or later, the definition can only be inferred from the context, which may be incomplete or misleading (see sincere).
"He can be something of a truculent fellow."
The sound of the word may seem to offer a clue.  For the case at hand, truculent initially struck my ear with a joyful, gutsy energy.  Wouldn't mind being a little truculent myself.
"The challenge put me into a truculent state of mind."
Saying something like that with impunity would merely reinforce misguided usage.  Lacking diligence, one might go for years saying or writing truculent intending to express an enthusiastic optimism mixed with kindness and generosity -- exactly opposite to the correct meaning.  I'm embarrassed to admit, I actually did that.   Imagine the effect on family and friends, bosses and customers.

Lugubrious sounds comical to me.  Sanguine sounds sad.

Bellicose is another example.  I hear belle at the beginning of it -- beautifulBelligerent sounds further away, possibly because of the shifted accent (see ignominy).

"May I present my bellicose and lugubrious mate."
Saying something like that could easily put one's sanguine spouse into a truculent state of mind.

101 Words
Table of Contents
Top of Article