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noun con·flict \ˈkän-ˌflikt\

Simple Definition of conflict

  • : a struggle for power, property, etc.

  • : strong disagreement between people, groups, etc., that results in often angry argument

  • : a difference that prevents agreement : disagreement between ideas, feelings, etc.

Full Definition of conflict

  1. 1 :  fight, battle, war <an armed conflict>

  2. 2 a :  competitive or opposing action of incompatibles :  antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b :  mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands

  3. 3 :  the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction

con·flict·ful play \ˈkän-ˌflikt-fəl\ adjective
con·flic·tu·al play \kän-ˈflik-chə-wəl, kən-, -chəl, -shwəl, -chü-əl\ adjective

Examples of conflict

  1. In great wars—the American Civil War, the First and Second World Wars—the largest casualties are suffered just before the conflicts end. —Steve Forbes, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2009

  2. At a moment when the country was still in the throes of the conflict over Vietnam, it was refreshing to see the best of America. —Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006

  3. The basic conflict in the novel is, of course, between the life on the river, where Huck finds innocence, brotherhood with man, and communion with nature, and life ashore, where, stage by stage, he discovers the corruption of society … —Robert Penn Warren, Democracy and Poetry, (1975) 1976

  4. … for work-family conflicts to disappear, two rock-ribbed institutions must change: the whole concept of children's care, and the way the workplace works. —Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Family Politics, 1983

  5. a conflict between two gangs

  6. recent violent conflict in the region

  7. Everyone in my family always tries to avoid conflict.

  8. There was inevitable conflict over what to name the group.

  9. They're having serious conflicts over the budget.

  10. I don't see any conflicts between the theories.

  11. You'll need to resolve the conflict between your parents' plans for you and your own ambitions.

Origin of conflict

Middle English, from Latin conflictus act of striking together, from confligere to strike together, from com- + fligere to strike — more at profligate

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of conflict

discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony. discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism <a political party long racked by discord>. strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved <during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife>. conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires <the conflict of freedom and responsibility>. contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy <several points of contention about the new zoning law>. dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions <religious dissension threatened to split the colony>. variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest <cultural variances that work against a national identity>.



verb con·flict \kən-ˈflikt, ˈkän-ˌ\

Simple Definition of conflict

  • : to be different in a way that prevents agreement : to say or express opposite things

  • : to happen at the same time as something else

Full Definition of conflict

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  to contend in warfare

  3. 2 :  to be different, opposed, or contradictory :  to fail to be in agreement or accord <his statement conflicts with the facts>

con·flic·tion play \kən-ˈflik-shən, kän-\ noun
con·flic·tive play \kən-ˈflik-tiv, ˈkän-ˌ\ adjective

Examples of conflict

  1. The expectations about motherhood as full-time job that this situation created conflicted with the philosophy of the women's movement of the l960's. —Anita Shreve, New York Times Magazine, 2l Nov. l982

  2. Mr. van Wolferen says the U.S. must do more: It has to openly explain to Japan that it wants a managed-trade deal in order to end the bickering between the two nations, a move that would conflict with America's free-trade rhetoric. —David P. Hamilton, Wall Street Journal, 8 June 1995

  3. Lily smiled faintly at the injunction to take her tea strong. It was the temptation she was always struggling to resist. Her craving for the keen stimulant was forever conflicting with that other craving for sleep … —Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, 1905

  4. Reports conflicted on how many people were involved.

  5. <his statement conflicts with the facts, as given in the police report>

Origin of conflict

(see 1conflict)

First Known Use: 15th century

Medical Dictionary


noun con·flict \ˈkän-ˌflikt\

Medical Definition of conflict

  1. :  mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands

  2. con·flict·ful \ˈkän-ˌflikt-fəl\play adjective
    con·flict·less \ˈkän-ˌflik-tləs\play adjective
    con·flic·tu·al \kän-ˈflik-ch(ə-w)əl, kən-\play adjective

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