I am confused with the two words 'truculent' and 'petulant'. I consulted with MW dictionary.

Truculent: easily annoyed or angered and likely to argue

Petulant: having or showing the attitude of people who becomes angry or annoyed when they do not get what they want

My understanding is that both words mean bad-tempered. Possibly only difference, I can think of, is that if you are petulant your anger is kind of 'justified'. Is my understanding correct?

I still feel that the difference between the meanings of two words is very little. I will be glad if someone can highlight any other marked difference between them.

  • you could search the words on vocabulary.com. It explains the difference well.
    – user147593
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 7:14
  • What do you mean by "justified"? By whom? For whom? Why? Suggestion: look the words up in the Oxford Dictionary online and read the definitions and example sentences. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 10:31
  • Is there are reason you are disregarding the 'and likely to argue' part?
    – Spagirl
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Actually there's considerable difference between petulant and truculent.

One definition the OED gives for petulant is:

Exhibiting or prone to peevish impatience or irritability, esp. over trivial matters; childishly sulky or bad-tempered.

Truculent is defined by Google as:

eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant.

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