cold war


Definition of cold war

1 : a conflict over ideological differences carried on by methods short of sustained overt military action and usually without breaking off diplomatic relations specifically, often capitalized C&W : the ideological conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. during the second half of the 20th century — compare hot war
2 : a condition of rivalry, mistrust, and often open hostility short of violence especially between power groups (such as labor and management)

Examples of cold war in a Sentence

the era of the Cold War the cold war between the party's more liberal and conservative members
Recent Examples on the Web The new cold war with China could be a good thing, Doyle McManus wrote in his column. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Essential Politics: Biden’s senior appointments are almost 60% women. He’s on track for a historic milestone," 26 Mar. 2021 If competition with China forces the United States to fund more research, rebuild its infrastructure and revitalize its economy, a little cold war could be a beautiful thing. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Here’s why our new cold war with China could be a good thing," 24 Mar. 2021 Starting wars is not an easy option when both the cold war and the period that followed it of unchallenged American hegemony are in the past. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "To Hell with Unity," 2 Mar. 2021 While there is certainly a legitimate argument to be made that Obama should have been tougher, a more nuanced take would have wrestled with the fact that there were open concerns of a Sino-U.S. cold war during the first Obama term. Washington Post, "China’s aggression and the Trump administration’s shortsightedness," 12 Mar. 2021 The grim bunker-like setting of The Shape of Water, in a cold war–era US military research facility, presents a powerful and frightening critique of clandestine operations going on in our Western democracies today. Marina Warner, The New York Review of Books, "Splash," 9 Mar. 2021 Over the past few years, the conversation about China and the United States heading toward a cold war began to gain real currency. Wired Staff, Wired, "What Did I Just Read? A Conversation With the Authors of 2034," 2 Mar. 2021 Comparisons with the cold war do not capture the problem. The Economist, "China faces fateful choices, especially involving Taiwan," 20 Feb. 2021 The son of two cold war veterans, Irving grew up in government housing in Severn, Maryland. Fox News, "Black Soldier Made History As First African American Sniper To Deploy With 3rd Ranger Battalion," 20 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cold war.' 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 cold war

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of cold war was in 1945

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cold war.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for cold war

cold war


English Language Learners Definition of cold war

: the nonviolent conflict between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. after 1945
: a conflict or dispute between two groups that does not involve actual fighting

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