Definition of combatant in English:



  • 1A person or nation engaged in fighting during a war.

    ‘in the long Russo-Swedish conflict, both combatants endured terrible sacrifices’
    • ‘Such unit cohesion in turn creates strong incentives to continue fighting when engaged in combat, because the combatant ultimately will fight in order to not let the other members of his unit down.’
    • ‘Commanders must distinguish civilians and civilian objects from combatants and military objects under the principle of discrimination.’
    • ‘Since such a war is more destructive to the civilian population than to the combatants, the militias have little incentive to opt for a peace that does not favor their corporate agenda.’
    • ‘But with the onset of hostilities, soldiers become combatants and are thus imbued with a fundamentally different moral status than noncombatants.’
    • ‘Their disillusionment is often due in no small part to the deception and coercion employed by local commanders and combatants.’
    • ‘Two enemy combatants were also killed in the fight.’
    • ‘The mission monitored and advised efforts to disarm combatants and restructure the nation's security forces.’
    • ‘The smoke of fires, as well as cannon, meant that the combatants fought without seeing clearly what was around them.’
    • ‘Long-distance weapons required soldiers to disperse, and combatants in both world wars found it increasingly difficult to maintain an offensive sprit.’
    • ‘But there are no easy, inexpensive solutions to the process of demobilizing hundreds of thousands of combatants and armed men who know little more than fighting.’
    • ‘Though these people are not a direct threat to the combatant, their relationship with enemy combatants is seemingly pernicious.’
    • ‘Enemy combatants are detained for a very practical reason: to prevent them from returning to the fight.’
    • ‘In summary, unlawful combatants have long been recognized as a category of combatants.’
    • ‘But the military can detain lawful combatants, if it chooses, without charging them with any offense.’
    • ‘Uniforms are used to distinguish combatants from noncombatants or enemy combatants.’
    • ‘Four criteria must be met to qualify a person as a lawful combatant.’
    • ‘Negotiations that disarm combatants and bring to justice those who commit atrocities should be encouraged.’
    • ‘The mission monitored and advised efforts to disarm combatants and restructure the nation's security forces.’
    • ‘As a result, disarming the combatants will be difficult.’
    • ‘So unless a cease-fire is secured, the combatants on both sides will hold sway.’
    fighter, fighting man, fighting woman, soldier, serviceman, servicewoman, warrior, trooper
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    1. 1.1A person engaged in conflict or competition with another.
      ‘a long-time combatant for the control of Newcastle FC’
      • ‘The degree of physical risk to players may be less, but they are still combatants competing physically and with barely contained hostility in an arena for the entertainment of the masses.’
      • ‘He'd deliberately mixed old thinkers with new, combatants with in-house competitors, to see what sort of creative options they might come up with.’
      • ‘But then again luck plays a part in any finals campaign and who knows what lady luck will bring for any of the four combatants left in the competition.’
      • ‘What's more, the fact that the game randomly generates rival schools and opponents every time your combatants step foot into an arena means that your potential challenge is almost infinite.’
      • ‘Each round of the conflict begins with the combatants of the two factions materializing at their respective portals.’
      • ‘Some fights did break out among drunken youths, but security quickly brought these under control and disbursed the combatants.’
      • ‘In these contests, the combatants are skilled in striking, takedowns and submission and are in top shape.’
      • ‘It was a ferocious battle with both combatants suffering various blows from each other's poles.’
      • ‘I'd like to alter its direction a little by shifting emphasis from micro analysing the behaviour of the political combatants to discussing the values being contested and the means being used to do so.’
      • ‘And its power to regulate carbohydrate makes it a possible combatant for hypoglycemia and diabetes.’
      • ‘The blow separated the two combatants, but it had another, more unexpected outcome.’
      • ‘The contest was very tight in the first half with only two points separating the combatants.’
      • ‘Neighbors, family members, even occasional bystanders used to separate combatants.’
      • ‘Well, this board decided to award the top five hand-to-hand combatants with prizes up to a certain price limit.’
      • ‘Exchanging blow after blow, the two combatants dueled through the remains of the Keep.’
      • ‘I've increasingly become convinced that in order to be any kind of a public-intellectual commentator or combatant, one has to be unafraid of the charges of elitism.’
      • ‘The gladiators wore uniforms and were organised into ‘teams’, with each combatant playing a designated ‘position’.’
      • ‘A contestant shall be deemed to have been defeated when in such position on the floor, if said combatant cannot free himself from his opponent's arms within two seconds' time.’
      • ‘In duels with the sword, the seconds mark the standing spot of each combatant, leaving a distance of two feet between the points of their weapons.’
      • ‘The top three teams will receive a first round bye while teams four and five will square off to determine the final semi-final combatant.’
      contender, antagonist, adversary, battler, opponent, contestant, competitor, player, challenger, disputant, rival
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  • Engaged in fighting during a war.

    ‘all the combatant armies went to war with machine guns’
    • ‘Submarines also engaged enemy combatant ships and auxiliary vessels, pursuing combat operations in assumed or reconnoitered combat designation areas of enemy task forces and on their deployment routes.’
    • ‘Every combatant commander in the Army keeps a keen eye out for tools that provide real-time situational awareness.’
    • ‘The right to participate in hostilities provides them with two important rights on capture: POW status and combatant immunity.’
    • ‘The ships in this force directly support the Navy's combatant ships with the logistics they need to remain at sea for long periods.’
    • ‘Opinions began to alter during the wars of the mid-18th century and military riflemen appeared in most combatant nations' armies, albeit in small numbers.’
    • ‘This is an appropriate juncture to introduce the dilemma represented by the tension between the notion of military necessity and the regulation of combatant conduct.’
    • ‘Yet the international obligation persists: conduct by civilians who accompany the force that amounts to direct or active participation in combatant activity is forbidden.’
    • ‘The lower level corresponds to a stage of development of a navy where it is made up of ships and combatant craft [small naval combatants] intended exclusively for guard and patrol activities.’
    • ‘Russia, which by the early 20th century was second in number of combatant ships of the main types only to Britain and France, ceased to be one of the leading naval powers.’
    • ‘More than 300 combatant ships and vessels secured the landing of assault forces, and as many as 10,000 sorties were performed by aircraft.’
    • ‘With these objectives in mind, many navies of the world have been widely using in recent decades small surface ships that include corvettes and combatant crafts.’
    • ‘As a result of Allied unpreparedness, significant second- and third-order effects appeared in the form of combatant casualties.’
    • ‘In support of combatant commanders, we help shape theater strategies.’
    • ‘The Secretary of Defense approves, but combatant commanders work directly for the president.’
    • ‘Then our combatant commanders needed more, so we transitioned to a surge tempo.’
    • ‘I had the honor of serving as chairman while he was our combatant commander.’
    • ‘Combatant ships form a vital component of the naval power of states.’
    • ‘Vertical replenishment primarily involves using helicopters to lift cargo from a supply ship to a combatant ship.’
    • ‘And it is not simply the fate of the combatant nations that frightens the planners.’
    • ‘All the combatant nations introduced newer designs which incorporated where possible the lessons of the earlier war years.’
    warring, at war, opposing, contending, belligerent, combating, fighting, battling, conflicting, clashing
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Late Middle English (as an adjective used in heraldry to describe two lions facing one another with raised forepaws): from Old French, present participle of combatre ‘to fight’ (see combat).



/ˈkɒmbət(ə)nt/ /ˈkʌmbət(ə)nt/