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 And with so much uncertainty ahead, the refund skirmish is a mere preview of the pointed questions that families will need to ask very soon. Ron Lieber, New York Times, "Colleges Won’t Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning.," 1 May 2020 Alexie said that his dog walked away from the skirmish unscathed. Author: Greg Kim, Anchorage Daily News, "Rabid coyote attacks dog in Quinhagak, prompting temporary lift of travel restrictions," 23 Apr. 2020 The skirmishes in Wisconsin offer a preview for potential battles over the November election. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, "Biden wins Wisconsin primary. Sanders continues to collect delegates," 13 Apr. 2020 The skirmish represents a microcosm of the broader battle leading up to this fall's presidential election, in which the coronavirus could drastically affect turnout. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court refuses to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin despite pandemic," 6 Apr. 2020 Alleged video from the skirmish shows overturned police vehicles and a large group of people clad with face masks facing off against Chinese police who attempted to use riot shields to push back the crowd. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Chinese riot police clash with civilians after travel restrictions eased in coronavirus epicenter," 28 Mar. 2020 The protesters A half-dozen members of the Africa Town Coalition were holding their weekly food bank in Leimert Park, passing out meals and produce, when someone ran over and told them about the skirmish at Hubert’s Liquor. oregonlive, "Korean liquor store. Black neighborhood. A quarter of a century after the LA riots, misgivings still run deep," 23 Feb. 2020 In portraits of his mother, who has struggled with depression, Solomon strives to depict the internal skirmishes of a restless mind. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "The Visceral Satisfactions of a Disabled Photographer’s Gaze," 6 Feb. 2020 The Democratic race is a five-way mush heading in Iowa, the opening skirmish on the road to the 2020 nomination. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "'I wish I felt excited about Biden’: Iowans don’t love former VP but he’s safe 2d choice in caucuses," 3 Feb. 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

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skirmish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skirmish. Accessed 26 May. 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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