battle

noun, often attributive
bat·​tle | \ ˈba-tᵊl How to pronounce battle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce battling (audio) , 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

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Other Words from battle

Verb (1)

battler \ ˈbat-​lər How to pronounce battler (audio) , ˈba-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for battle

Synonyms: Noun

fight, fray, scrabble, struggle, throes

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the commercial, however, The Mountain battles The Bud Knight—and knocks him off of his horse. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Just Recreated That Scene with The Mountain for a Super Bowl Ad," 4 Feb. 2019 The 2018 midterms represented an extension of this battle. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Coastal Louisiana is on the front lines of a battle against land loss common to river deltas around the world, from the Nile to the Mekong, where extreme weather and rising sea levels are chewing away at coastal lands. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 That could be particularly true just over a month out from a high-stakes midterm election and in the midst of a battle over the fate of his second Supreme Court nominee. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "First Lady Melania Trump Goes Solo in Africa. But What's She Actually up To?," 2 Oct. 2018 The case marks another significant moment in the ongoing battle between law enforcement and tech providers, with the former trying to break the myriad security protections put in place by the latter. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: With the SEC off his back, Elon Musk can return his focus to Tesla," 1 Oct. 2018 Laura Ingraham: The critical lessons of the Kavanaugh battle. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Kavanaugh, Ford face the hot seat in Supreme battle; Kavanaugh a victim of mistaken identity?," 28 Sep. 2018 The move puts New York at the forefront of the battle between ride-shares and cabs, and further pushes efforts to create an alleged level playing field between the two driving groups. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "New York City Votes to Cap Number of Ubers, Lyfts," 8 Aug. 2018 Congress is rebelling against Mr. Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to build a border wall, though the President will win this battle with a veto. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump vs. a Republican Senate," 1 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Firefighters battle a fire whirl in the Carr Fire on July 26. Dylan Moriarty, WSJ, "Rare ‘Fire Whirl’ Landed in California, Officials Say," 3 Aug. 2018 Buy Photo Firefighters on Tuesday night were battling a four-alarm scrapyard fire in the city’s Kensington section, officials said. Robert Moran, Philly.com, "Firefighters battle 4-alarm scrapyard blaze in Kensington," 10 July 2018 One child died and three others were injured as Kansas City, Kan., firefighters battled a blaze at an apartment complex Saturday, authorities said. Hunter Woodall And Max Londberg, kansascity, "Child, 4, killed in KCK apartment fire, fire marshal says. Three others injured," 7 July 2018 The president and lawmakers are battling over border security funding. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Trump Signals Shift on Legal Immigration," 10 Feb. 2019 The royal family typically stays out of politics, but Queen Elizabeth appears to be hinting at her thoughts on the state of civil discourse in the U.K. and perhaps sending a message to MPs currently battling over Brexit. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Makes a Plea for Respect Amid the Ongoing Brexit Debate," 24 Jan. 2019 These acts go well beyond the normal democratic give and take, where parties battle over the rules of elections at the margins. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Republican Party versus democracy," 17 Dec. 2018 In the holiday feature, viewers get to see the beautiful area where bakery worker Ellie (Brooke D'Orsay) and city-slicking CEO Nick (Daniel Lissing) will battle over the future of the business, which is renown for its Christmas Kringle pastries. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Hallmark's New 'Christmas in Love' Movie Was Filmed in the Most Romantic Small Town," 11 Nov. 2018 Its founders are battling in court over control of the group, as well as some $900,000 in its bank account. John Schwartz, New York Times, "He Sues to Discredit Climate Scientists. Now He’s Being Sued by His Allies.," 11 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for battle

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for battle

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

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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 How to pronounce battle (audio) \

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

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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

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