battle

noun, often attributive
bat·​tle | \ ˈba-tᵊl \

Definition of battle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 archaic : battalion
2 : a combat between two persons
3 : a general encounter between armies, ships of war, or aircraft the battle of Normandy soldiers who fell in battle
4 : an extended contest, struggle, or controversy a battle of wits
5 : a struggle to succeed or survive her battle with cancer … I came home and faced an uphill battle to gain support for the treaty in the U.S. Senate.— Al Gore
do battle
: to engage in a fight or struggle … used to do battle with the fearless radicals of the Socialist Workers Party …— Salman Rushdie
half the battle
: an important and necessary part of doing or achieving something I think you will prosper, for the sincere wish to be good is half the battle.— Louisa May Alcott In the positioning war, half the battle is picking the right enemy.— Ted Morgan often used with words like only and just to stress that something is not enough by itself to achieve a desired goal Selecting which partners and investors to woo is only half the battle. Knowing how to pitch them is equally important.— Michelle Goodman
in the heat of (the) battle
: while fighting a battle soldiers in the heat of battle : during the stress of a struggle, argument, or confrontation That's how we fight our battles in boxing … In the heat of battle we all say crazy things we are not accountable for.—Bob Arum

battle

verb (1)
battled; battling\ ˈbat-​liŋ , ˈba-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of battle (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to engage in combat between individuals or armed forces : to engage in battle : fight battling for control of the bridge
2 : to contend with full strength, vigor, skill, or resources : struggle They battled to keep their son out of jail. battling over how to spend the money

transitive verb

1 : to fight or struggle against battling cancer two teams set to battle each other for the championship battling it out in the courtroom
2 : to force, thrust, or drive by battling battling his way through the crowd
battle it out
: to engage in a prolonged fight, argument, or struggle The two sides battled it out in court. … predicting that she and her 15-year-old sister, Serena, would soon be battling it out for No. 1.— S. L. Price

battle

verb (2)
battled; battling

Definition of battle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

archaic
: to fortify with battlements … beneath the battled tower.— Alfred Tennyson

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from battle

Verb (1)

battler \ ˈbat-​lər , ˈba-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for battle

Synonyms: Noun

fight, fray, scrabble, struggle, throes

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of battle in a Sentence

Noun

That two-day conflict has become one of the most famous battles in history. The battle continued late into the night. Thousands of soldiers were willing to go into battle to fight the enemy. A police officer was injured in a gun battle that took place last night. The company was involved in a legal battle with one of its employees. the never-ending battle between good and evil
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The two sides agreed to a 90-day standstill in their trade battle in early December, with the U.S. postponing plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and the two sides entering negotiations on other contentious issues. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "The China Story That Is Far Bigger Than Apple," 4 Jan. 2019 Arriving in January, Arena will merge elements of Daybreak’s MMO first-person shooter Planetside with the battle royale genre. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Heroes of the Storm winds down, Monster Hunter adds The Witcher's Geralt," 14 Dec. 2018 Qualcomm was dealt a major loss in one of its many ongoing legal battles this afternoon, with a federal court ruling that the company must license its modem patents to competing chipmakers, potentially weakening its stranglehold on the market. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Qualcomm must license patents to competing chipmakers, court rules," 6 Nov. 2018 For women, their battle succeeded in 1920, but other marginalized groups, such as Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, had to keep up the fight for the franchise. Barbara Boxer And Nicole Boxer, Marie Claire, "Vote Today—It's Good for the Soul," 6 Nov. 2018 One of our biggest battles is actually doing all of that on top of getting the basics right. Lindsey Tramuta, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: KLM CEO Pieter Elbers on Keeping Up With the 'Big Kids'," 11 Oct. 2018 Rather than task high-end F-35 fighters with the mission, drones like the Reaper could fight their own air-to-air battles, shooting down surveillance enemy drones with Stinger missiles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Reaper Drone Shot Down Another Drone in First Unmanned Air-to-Air Kill," 19 Sep. 2018 While Uber won its last battle with New York City, its efforts to counter were weaker this time around. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Uber lost in NYC. But here’s the real problem.," 8 Aug. 2018 But Howell’s fierce attitude was no match for battles with appendicitis and mononucleosis that affected him during the past school year. Dave Melton, Post-Tribune, "Mr. Happy Go Lucky: Metea Valley grad Christian Howell keeps it loose and throws strikes for Northwest Indiana Oilmen," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Despite battling the disease, Olivia has been staying positive. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Watch Olivia Newton-John Address Death Rumors in Heartbreaking New Video," 3 Jan. 2019 This is not the first time Ginsburg has battled cancer. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Surgery for Lung Cancer," 21 Dec. 2018 The comrades-in-arms are in top form battling more invading other-worldly beings—and seemingly having a blast doing it. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Thor Ragnarok stars reunite, kick alien butt in MiB International trailer," 20 Dec. 2018 In the aftermath of a New York Times story that meticulously revealed Facebook’s cloddish response to the disinformation and hacking campaigns around the 2016 election, the company is battling renewed criticism from Washington, D.C. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Facebook takes on new political heat after its internal problems are exposed," 15 Nov. 2018 To grasp the issues fueling this silent epidemic, as well as how to fight them, Woman's Day spoke to three women battling hunger in their communities. Sandy M. Fernandez, Woman's Day, "How Three Women Are Pioneering to End Hunger in the U.S.," 14 Nov. 2018 But neighbors opposed the plans, battling zoning changes and the crowds that might come with a tourist destination. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Spiraling Frank Lloyd Wright house can be yours for $12.9M," 4 Sep. 2018 The show plays out in a race-against-time format, as Singh battles his corrupt department to chase the clues Gaitonde has left him. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sacred Games Reinvents the Police Procedural," 12 July 2018 Her life record reveals a passionate woman who placed herself constantly in very public arenas, battling for social justice issues. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Teen Vogue, "Who Was Jovita Idár, the Radical Muckraking Mexican-American Journalist?," 12 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'battle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of battle

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for battle

Noun

Middle English batel, from Anglo-French bataille battle, battalion, from Late Latin battalia combat, alteration of battualia fencing exercises, from Latin battuere to beat

Verb (1)

Middle English bataillen, borrowed from Anglo-French batailler, verbal derivative of bataille battle entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English batailen, from Anglo-French bataillier to fortify with battlements, from Old French batailles battlemented tower, probably from plural of bataille battle

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about battle

Statistics for battle

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for battle

The first known use of battle was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for battle

battle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of battle

: a military fight between groups of soldiers, ships, airplanes, etc.

: a violent fight in which people use weapons

: a fight between people or groups in which each side tries to win a contest (such as a game or an election) or to gain control of something (such as a company)

battle

noun
bat·​tle | \ ˈba-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of battle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a fight between armies, warships, or airplanes
2 : a fight between two persons or animals
3 : a long or hard struggle or contest the battle against hunger

battle

verb
battled; battling

Kids Definition of battle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to engage in fighting
2 : to try to stop or defeat battling a forest fire

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on battle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with battle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for battle

Spanish Central: Translation of battle

Nglish: Translation of battle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of battle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about battle

Comments on battle

What made you want to look up battle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!