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

Oh, not in the sense of a Russian asset in an old cold war sense who is planted here by the GRU as a child with the sole goal of growing up to help defeat the United States and helping Mother Russia. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Why is McConnell so upset about being called Moscow Mitch? Maybe it hits too close to home," 2 Aug. 2019 The perils of a new cold war with China will not be. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 This story comes to mind not so much because of fears of a new cold war, this time with China, but because of the bond market’s recent response to such fears. The Economist, "The long-term decline in bond yields enters a new phase," 5 June 2019 But Wolf II offers insights as to why China has been hanging tough through its trade negotiations with the U.S. China sees the trade war as a new form of cold war and Trump’s tariffs as the last futile effort by Americans to curtail China’s rise. Helen Raleigh, National Review, "Wolf Warrior II Tells Us a Lot about China," 20 July 2019 Such rhetoric from both sides felt like a rehash of the cold war, and with the same purpose: to conceal the failures and weaknesses of both systems. Pankaj Mishra, Twin Cities, "Pankaj Mishra: Putin’s wrong, but so are liberals," 11 July 2019 There’s a trade war on with China, which some think is a new kind of cold war. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The SEC's Kik Crypto Case Shows Just How Far Crypto Has To Go—Data Sheet," 6 June 2019 The other cold war: Near the end of World War II, Patricia Lake hosted a top-secret military project to build a ship out of wood pulp and ice. Susan O'keefe, National Geographic, "EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC," 8 Apr. 2019 Sleep on opposite sides of the bed with your backs to each other in a queen-size cold war? Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Breathless: Is Living Together Worth the Risk?," 26 Mar. 2019

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

23 Sep 2019

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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


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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to spread over or through

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