asymmetric warfare

variants: or less commonly asymmetrical warfare

Definition of asymmetric warfare

: warfare that is between opposing forces which differ greatly in military power and that typically involves the use of unconventional weapons and tactics (such as those associated with guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks) Challenging the United States in conventional combat is an invitation to disaster; combat operations emphatically demonstrated that when Iraq's army disintegrated under pressure from U.S. airstrikes and ground assaults. So Iraqi insurgents have increasingly resorted to unconventional or “asymmetricwarfare—hit-and-run ambushes, snipings and the extensive use of homemade bombs—to inflict casualties while minimizing their own risks.— Ed Timms, Dallas Morning News, 13 Nov. 2003 But the kind of asymmetric warfare that typifies combat with terrorist and other armed groups is nothing new.— Kenneth Roth, State News Service, 30 Dec. 2009 … Marines would become key players in irregular and asymmetrical warfare— John D. Burrow, Marine Corps Gazette, January 2011

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Other Words from asymmetric warfare

asymmetric war or less commonly asymmetrical war noun
The United States and its allies are already fighting asymmetric wars in Afghanistan and Iraq … — Anthony H. Cordesman et al., Lessons of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, 2007 General (Retired) Montgomery Meigs stated that asymmetric war dominates the attention of the public today, as we face this new challenge of terrorism within America’s borders … — John M. House, Why War? Why an Army?, 2008

First Known Use of asymmetric warfare

1991, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of asymmetric warfare was in 1991

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Dictionary Entries Near asymmetric warfare

asymmetric synthesis

asymmetric warfare


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Cite this Entry

“Asymmetric warfare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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