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Inherited from late Middle English combataunt, from Middle French combatant.



combatant (plural combatants)

  1. A person engaged in combat, often armed.
    Gladiators were combatants who fought to the death to entertain the public.
    • c. 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act IV, Scene 1,[1]
      Come hither, you that would be combatants:
      Henceforth I charge you, as you love our favour,
      Quite to forget this quarrel and the cause.
    • 1789, Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, London: for the author, Volume 1, Chapter 3, p. 112,[2]
      On the passage, one day, for the diversion of those gentlemen, all the boys were called on the quarter deck, and were paired proportionably, and then made to fight; after which the gentlemen gave the combatants from five to nine shillings each.
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter 12,[3]
      If any combatant was struck down, and unable to recover his feet, his squire or page might enter the lists, and drag his master out of the press; but in that case the knight was adjudged vanquished []
    • 1992, William M. Hutchins and Angele Botros Samaan (translators), Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz, New York: Anchor Books, 1993, Chapter 48, p. 271,[4]
      [] Don’t you realize that alcohol is an essential part of heroism? The combatant and the drunkard are brothers, you genius.”

Derived terms[edit]




combatant (comparative more combatant, superlative most combatant)

  1. Contending; disposed to contend.
    • 1641, Ben Jonson, The Magnetic Lady, New York: Henry Holt, 1914, Act III, Scene 5, p. 65,[5]
      Their valours are not yet so combatant,
      Or truly antagonistick, as to fight;
  2. Involving combat.
    • 1921, John Dos Passos, Three Soldiers, New York: Modern Library, 1932, Part Two, Chapter 1, p. 71,[6]
      He wished he were in a combatant service; he wanted to fight, fight.

Middle French[edit]



  1. present participle of combatre