1

skirmish

noun skir·mish \ ˈskər-mish \

Definition of skirmish

1 :a minor fight in war usually incidental to larger movements
2 a :a brisk preliminary verbal conflict
b :a minor dispute or contest between opposing parties
  • the debate touched off a skirmish

Examples of skirmish in a Sentence

  1. Skirmishes broke out between rebel groups.

  2. Violent skirmishes with the enemy continue despite talks of peace.

Recent Examples of skirmish from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skirmish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of skirmish

Middle English skyrmissh, alteration (influenced by Anglo-French eskermir to fence (with swords), protect, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German scirmen to protect, scirm shield) of skarmuch, from Anglo-French escarmuche, from Old Italian scaramuccia — more at screen

skirmish Synonyms

Synonyms
brush, hassle, run-in, scrape, encounter
Related Words
argument, fight, quarrel, row, spat, squabble, tiff; battle, brawl, fray, wrangle
Near Antonyms
truce

2

skirmish

verb

Definition of skirmish

intransitive verb
1 :to engage in a skirmish
2 :to search about (as for supplies) :scout around

skirmisher

noun

Examples of skirmish in a Sentence

  1. Rebel groups are skirmishing with military forces.

  2. The presidential candidates skirmished over their economic plans.

Recent Examples of skirmish from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skirmish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of skirmish

14th century


SKIRMISH Defined for English Language Learners

skirmish

noun

Definition of skirmish for English Language Learners

  • : a brief and usually unplanned fight during a war

  • : a minor or brief argument or disagreement


skirmish

verb

Definition of skirmish for English Language Learners

  • : to be involved in a skirmish


SKIRMISH Defined for Kids

1

skirmish

noun skir·mish \ ˈskər-mish \

Definition of skirmish for Students

1 :a minor fight in war
2 :a minor argument

2

skirmish

verb

Definition of skirmish for Students

skirmished; skirmishing
:to take part in a fight or dispute


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up skirmish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!