cold war

noun

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 cold war, as Mr Slater puts it, did not bring about a domino collapse into communism. The Economist, "South-East Asia: lots of elections, not so much democracy," 24 May 2018 The Knicks and Bulls have spent the better part of the past decade locked in a cold war to see who can alienate more lifelong fans. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "Kevin Knox, Wendell Carter Jr., and Midsummer Hope for the Knicks and Bulls," 13 July 2018 Letting the treaty lapse would send an ominous signal, because every other part of the bilateral arms-control regime left over from the cold war is either dead or crumbling. The Economist, "What Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin ought to talk about in Helsinki," 12 July 2018 What’s next is not so much a trade war or even a cold war as the dawn of an ice age in relations between China and the United States. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "After Trump’s New Tariff Threat, China Seeks Strategy for Retaliation," 11 July 2018 Members of Congress have begun scrutinizing Google’s relationship with China’s Huawei Technologies Co.—roping another Silicon Valley giant into Washington’s escalating digital cold war with Beijing. Douglas Macmillan, WSJ, "After Scrutinizing Facebook, Congress Turns to Google Deal With Huawei," 7 June 2018 As the Arab cold war spreads, Iran and other foes are gaining advantage. The Economist, "How to ensure Muhammad bin Salman’s reforms succeed," 23 June 2018 That Florence met Edward at a gathering for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament doesn’t count as a selling point for her mom who has no problem living in a perpetual state of cold war with both Russia and her daughter. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "Review: ‘On Chesil Beach’ floats on strong performances," 31 May 2018 In the first two and a half seasons of the series, we’re introduced to a solar system in the midst of a cold war between Earth, Mars, and the inhabitants of the Outer Planets. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Now is the perfect time to start watching The Expanse," 24 May 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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The first known use of cold war was in 1945

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More Definitions for cold war

cold war

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cold war

the 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cold war

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cold war

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