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

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Other Words from battle

Verb (1)

battler \ ˈbat-​lər , 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

After a back-and-forth battle between the two teams for the next few minutes, Mario Kegler hit a layup and a trio of free throws to put the Bears back up 13. John Lowe, The Seattle Times, "Mason scores 29, Baylor defeats West Virginia 85-73," 21 Jan. 2019 Does this mean Jon survives the upcoming battle between the living and the dead, but the Stark sisters don't? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Theories from the New Teaser Hint at Jon Snow and Bran Stark's Futures," 15 Jan. 2019 There’s less of a precedent for wins, and even less for this specific type of battle between two enormous, established brands over the jackpot that is modern sneaker culture. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Can Vans really sue Target for a cheap look-alike of its most famous skater shoe?," 26 Dec. 2018 Clearly, there is going to be a running battle between AI fakery and image authentication for decades to come. James Vincent, The Verge, "These faces show how far AI image generation has advanced in just four years," 17 Dec. 2018 Bangladesh, founded as a secular state, is facing a battle between secularism and Islamization, between culture and religion. Jennifer Chowdhury, Marie Claire, "Why Ilhan Omar's Victory Speech Starting With an Islamic Greeting Is So Important," 9 Nov. 2018 The company recently forced out its CEO, replacing one co-founder with another following a contentious boardroom battle between the two, Recode has learned. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "HQ Trivia was a blockbuster hit — but internal turmoil and a shrinking audience have pushed it to the brink," 5 Nov. 2018 In the midst of all of this, no one seemed to notice that Shelton had also pressed his button, and the showdown between Hudson and Clarkson turned into yet another battle between Clarkson and Shelton. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson Blocked Jennifer Hudson on 'The Voice' and Her Reaction Was Priceless," 2 Oct. 2018 China scotched trade talks with the U.S. that were planned for the coming days, according to people briefed on the matter, further dimming prospects for resolving a trade battle between the world’s two largest economies. Fox News, "China cancels trade talks with US amid escalation in tariff threats," 21 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Earlier this month, Michael revealed that Noah, who battled liver cancer in 2016, was doing well, and that the family couldn't wait for their little girl's arrival. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Michael Bublé and Wife Luisana Lopilato Welcome Their Baby Girl," 27 July 2018 Ross, the ninth overall pick who battled shoulder and knee injuries, didn’t make a catch last season. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "After mentoring Michael Vick, new Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban getting Lamar Jackson up to speed," 13 July 2018 France’s true standout on Tuesday was industrious veteran midfielder Blaise Matuidi, born in Toulouse to Angolan and Congolese parents, who battled through bruising tackles and a possible concussion to stymie Belgium’s attack. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a victory for the immigrant dream," 12 July 2018 Susanne Lyons, a member of the USOC board of directors, has been serving as acting CEO since March, after the resignation of long-time CEO Scott Blackmun, who is battling prostate cancer. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Beleaguered USOC chooses fresh start in its pick for CEO," 12 July 2018 The past decade has been filled with highs and lows for Odom, who has battled substance abuse. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian's Ex Lamar Odom Reveals That He's 'Decided to Move' to China — Find Out Why," 11 July 2018 Also on the ballot are Chaundra Lewis and David Brown, who are battling to win a State Court Judge seat on the judiciary. Leon Stafford, ajc, "Early voting in school board, judge races underway in Henry County," 4 July 2018 The world's most expensive player, who battled back from a broken bone in his foot to be fit for Russia, took plenty of flak despite scoring in the 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on Friday. Justin Davis, chicagotribune.com, "Germany, Brazil, Mexico play for their World Cup lives in group stage finale," 27 June 2018 Seven people will battle it out to become Agriculture Commissioner. Gray Rohrer, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Big fields set for governor, Cabinet, legislative races," 22 June 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

7 Feb 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 \

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

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