A belligerent is an individual, group, country, or other entity that acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. The term comes from the Latin bellum gerere ("to wage war"). Unlike the use of belligerent as an adjective meaning "aggressive", its use as a noun does not necessarily imply that a belligerent country is an aggressor.
In times of war, belligerent countries can be contrasted with neutral countries and non-belligerents. However, the application of the laws of war to neutral countries and the responsibilities of belligerents are not affected by any distinction between neutral countries, neutral powers or non-belligerents.