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From philo- +‎ polemic, modelled after Ancient Greek φιλοπόλεμος (philopólemos, fond of war, warlike),[1] from φίλος (phílos, beloved, dear; loving) (possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰil- (decent, good; friendly, harmonious)) + πόλεμος (pólemos, war; battle).



philopolemic (comparative more philopolemic, superlative most philopolemic)

  1. (rare) Exalting or supporting conflict or war. [from late 18th c.]
    Synonyms: bellicose, belligerent, combative, hawkish, jingoistic, philopolemical, warlike; see also Thesaurus:combative
    Antonyms: dovish, nonbellicose, nonbelligerent, noncombative, pacific, peaceable, uncombative, unjingoistic, unwarlike
    • 1816, Proclus; Thomas Taylor, transl., chapter XXI, in The Six Books of Proclus the Platonic Successor, on the Theology of Plato, Translated from the Greek; [] Two Volumes, volume II, London: Printed for the author, by A[braham] J[ohn] Valpy, [], OCLC 28259674, pages 164–165:
      [L]et us direct our attention to what Plato and his best interpreter Proclus have transmitted to us concerning Minerva, who as a mundane deity is connected with ether, and has also an allotment in the celestial regions. Plato then in the Timæus describes this Goddess as both a lover of war, and a lover of wisdom; for he says that she is philopolemic and philosophic.
    • 1899, Hanson Penn Diltz, Hollow Bracken: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Dillinghan, OCLC 5584232, page 385:
      [H]e dropped his title, which has since remained in abeyance; all of which was done with such secrecy as would have been successful had he been fighting a less diabolical and philopolemic enemy than the descendants of the deeply-wronged and unforgiving Evangeline.
    • 1904, Winefride Trafford-Taunton, chapter XXXVIII, in The Redemption of Damian Gier, London: Digby, Long & Co., [], OCLC 37304170, page 298:
      Strange! as her thoughts hovered about this, his greeting, with the subtle feeling of elation, which ran with direct and certain evidence of philopolemic strength and ability to twine the threads of destiny straight from the loom of the master-spinner, her mind reverted unconsciously and without impetus on her part, to those words in the last letter of de Monasterys— []
    • 1996, Reginald Hill, The Wood Beyond (A Dalziel and Pascoe Novel; Collins Crime; book 14), London: HarperCollins Publishers, →ISBN; republished London: Harper, 2009, →ISBN, page 42:
      And what after all was this philopolemic building but a mausoleum in need of a body? His conscience thus quietened, Pascoe unscrewed the top of the urn, took out a handful of dust, examined it for fear, found it, []
  2. (rare) Fond of polemics or controversy. [from late 18th c.]
    Synonym: philopolemical
    • 1793, Plato; Thomas Taylor, transl., “The Cratylus of Plato”, in The Cratylus, Phædo, Parmenides and Timæus of Plato. Translated from the Greek [], London: Printed for Benjamin and John White, [], OCLC 938656099, page 66:
      But this goddeſs [Minerva], when conſidered as elevating all things, in conjunction with other divinities, to one demiurgus, and ordering and diſpoſing the univerſe together with her father;—according to the former of theſe employments, ſhe is called the philoſophic goddeſs; but, according to the latter, philopolemic, or a lover of contention. For, conſidered as unifically connecting all paternal wiſdom, ſhe is philoſophic; but, conſidered as uniformly adminiſtering all contrariety, ſhe is very properly called philopolemic.
    • 1994, Walter G. Tonetto, Exiled in Language: The Poetry of Margaret Diesendorf, Walter Billeter, Rudi Krausmann, and Manfred Jurgensen, Bethesda; Dublin; London: Academica Press, published 2001, →ISBN, page 231:
      When absorption occurs at the close of a poem, the preceding philopolemic posture is suddenly shriven; the surprise, especially in the non-vigilant reader, is the lack of reasonable expectation that there could be such sudden foci that illuminate, the yearning for situations felicificative, after so much negatory vision that usually antedates the finale.

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ philopolemic, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2006; “philopolemic”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.