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
Savage and cruel; fierce.
Disposed to fight; pugnacious; defiant.
"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
Bellicose is another example. I hear belle
at the beginning of it -- beautiful. Belligerent sounds
further away, possibly because of the shifted accent (see ignominy).
"May I present my bellicose and lugubrious
Saying something like that could easily put one's sanguine
spouse into a truculent state of mind.