skirmish

noun
skir·​mish | \ ˈskər-mish How to pronounce skirmish (audio) \

Definition of skirmish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

skirmish

verb
skirmished; skirmishing; skirmishes

Definition of skirmish (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from skirmish

Verb

skirmisher noun

Synonyms for skirmish

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of skirmish in a Sentence

Noun Skirmishes broke out between rebel groups. Violent skirmishes with the enemy continue despite talks of peace. Verb Rebel groups are skirmishing with military forces. The presidential candidates skirmished over their economic plans.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In one skirmish in 2015, the University of Tennessee offered guidance on referring to non-binary students on its website, only for political blowback to lead to a legislative ban on spending public money to support non-traditional pronouns. The Economist, "Johnson Who do they think they are?," 18 Jan. 2020 Taylor Swift is calling on her fans to help in her latest skirmish with Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta and music manager Scooter Braun. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Taylor Swift says AMAs performance, new Netflix doc being jeopardized by Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta," 15 Nov. 2019 In early 2018, hundreds of Kurds opted to abandon fighting positions against ISIS in eastern Syria to assist Kurdish forces fighting Turkish military in another skirmish in Afrin, in northwestern Syria. John Walcott, Time, "Trump, Pentagon Have No Contingency Plan for ISIS Jailbreakers as Turkey Attacks U.S. Allies in Syria," 9 Oct. 2019 Lavaka, one of the Beavers’ four captains this season, was involved in a skirmish near the Hawaii sideline following Oregon State’s 31-28 loss to the Rainbow Warriors. oregonlive, "Oregon State suspends Gus Lavaka, Kaleb Hayes for first half against Cal Poly, Addison Gumbs sustains season-ending knee injury," 9 Sep. 2019 In all, 22 unarmed people, including women and seniors, were killed in the skirmish. Rick Anderson, latimes.com, "Feds seek to strip citizenship of Bosnian war criminal living in Oregon," 6 Apr. 2018 But, as recently as November, Morrison threatened to outlaw climate activism, a day after protests at a mining conference in Melbourne led to skirmishes with police. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "When Will Australia’s Prime Minister Accept the Reality of the Climate Crisis?," 15 Jan. 2020 In 1988, an Iranian airliner was felled by a U.S. cruiser after being mistaken for a hostile aircraft following a skirmish with Iranian boats. Jennifer Jacobs, Fortune, "Iran Demands Proof After Western Governments Claim Iranian Missile Downed Passenger Jet," 10 Jan. 2020 As long as a war or skirmish with Iran doesn't derail consumer confidence and put business investment decisions on hold, the impact this time might be limited, too. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "How should you respond financially when turmoil makes headlines — by selling or yawning?," 8 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cue some terrific effects makeovers — look for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein under the feathers — as well as action that outstrips the knights-versus-fairies skirmishing from last time. BostonGlobe.com, "Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent — and Michelle Pfeiffer better watch out - The Boston Globe," 17 Oct. 2019 The following week, police and protesters skirmished. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong? I went to find out.," 20 Dec. 2019 On Monday police skirmished for hours to keep protesters from entering the Barcelona airport and shutting it down. Time, "Police and Protesters Clash in Catalonia for a Third Consecutive Night," 17 Oct. 2019 The city has had a period of relative calm since then, though police skirmished with some protesters near Prince Edward subway station on Saturday night. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Pro-democracy protesters renewed pressure on the Hong Kong government Sunday with three separate marches, appealing to President Donald Trump for help and demanding that police stop using tear gas.," 2 Dec. 2019 Lyric sites like Genius have skirmished with publishers over the past several years; Genius suggested that the reprints could be defended as fair use but ultimately struck deals with record labels. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Pandora is being sued for showing Tom Petty song lyrics," 18 June 2019 In recent months, the United States and its allies have skirmished with Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf region, where Iran has sought to impede the passage of commercial tankers through the Strait of Hormuz. Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, "Iran’s Zarif says he was sanctioned after declining an invitation to the White House," 5 Aug. 2019 The words were emblazoned beneath an image of the cannon on a battle flag flown at the Battle of Gonzalez where Mexican dragoons skirmished unsuccessfully with the Texian rebels to decide the matter. Myke Cole, The New Republic, "The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer," 1 Aug. 2019 In battle royale games like Fortnite, players skirmish in a shrinking landscape with one goal: to be the last one standing. Jason M. Bailey, New York Times, "Fortnite Drew Imitators to Survival Games. Who Will Be the Last One Standing?," 30 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of skirmish

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for skirmish

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for skirmish

Time Traveler

The first known use of skirmish was in the 14th century

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Statistics for skirmish

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skirmish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skirmish. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for skirmish

skirmish

noun
How to pronounce skirmish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skirmish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a brief and usually unplanned fight during a war
: a minor or brief argument or disagreement

skirmish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of skirmish (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be involved in a skirmish

skirmish

noun
skir·​mish | \ ˈskər-mish How to pronounce skirmish (audio) \

Kids Definition of skirmish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

skirmish

verb
skirmished; skirmishing

Kids Definition of skirmish (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take part in a fight or dispute

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Comments on skirmish

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