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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

An attack on a castle or fortress involved a short, but furious battle, with soldiers attacking holes in the walls with picks and hammers and rushing through as soon as the openings were large enough to squeeze through. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 Outfits ready for battle, for galas, and for the office have all appeared. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Just Wait Until Fashion Designers Get Their Hands on This Black Hole Picture," 10 Apr. 2019 Federer dominated a semifinal battle of the ages, beating 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4. Steven Wine, The Seattle Times, "Federer, defending champ Isner to meet in Miami Open final," 30 Mar. 2019 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning in a tough re-election battle, aware that a tough stance on security is paramount for voters. ... Felicia Schwartz And Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Political Dynamics Raise Risk for Israel-Hamas Clash," 26 Mar. 2019 Season 7 of Game of Thrones hit fans with more battles, death, and romance than possibly any other season yet. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Season 8: 18 Fan Theories to Know," 18 Mar. 2019 The ruling marks the latest salvo in the increasingly escalating battle between Qualcomm and Apple, launched almost two years ago when Apple first accused Qualcomm of gouging prices for its modem chips. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple will pull older iPhones from its German stores after Qualcomm wins partial ban," 20 Dec. 2018 The prime minister is facing an uphill battle, since her agreement is deeply unpopular. Jen Kirby, Vox, "UK Parliament just dealt a blow to Theresa May. What’s next for Brexit?," 6 Dec. 2018 Basically, your skin is fighting an uphill battle, and something will eventually give way. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "How to Fight Acne and Dry Skin in Winter," 13 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Building trade unions and business groups are battling over a New York budget provision that would expand the definition of public works that require higher wage rates. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Push to Expand Prevailing Wage Sparks Budget Fight in Albany," 14 Mar. 2019 Or the fact that, as Time politics editor Ryan Teague Beckwith pointed out, two very notable male political leaders—Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell—are battling their own favorability ratings. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Have We Learned Nothing From 2016 About How to Cover Women in Politics?," 3 Jan. 2019 Dog the Bounty Hunter star Beth Chapman is battling cancer once again. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Star Beth Chapman's Cancer Has Returned," 28 Nov. 2018 Harder, who most recently served as a vice president at Bessemer Venture Partners, is battling the four-term Republican incumbent, Jeff Denham, but the race remains too close to call, according to the Associated Press. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Josh Harder is in a dead heat in his congressional race to become the only venture capitalist in the House of Representatives," 7 Nov. 2018 Culberson and Fletcher are battling in a close race. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The 16 most interesting House races of 2018," 6 Nov. 2018 Sigfox is battling LoRaWAN to become the standard for IoT networks globally. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "Invoxia GPS Tracker review: longevity and range from a new kind of network," 31 Oct. 2018 Last week, the makeup mogul was battling ex-best friend, Manny 'MUA' Gutierrez. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Jeffree Star and Thomas Halbert are in a Bloody Feud After Thomas Releases Video Accusing Jeffree of Racism," 15 Oct. 2018 According to the federal National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which is made up of ten various fire suppression groups across the country, the state is currently battling 14 serious blazes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "200 Soldiers Are Being Sent to California to Fight Fires," 6 Aug. 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

18 Apr 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 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

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

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!