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 Neither is Irene Morgan, who died in 2007 and who waged one of the first successful skirmishes in an equally important American revolution. Thomas M. Boyd, WSJ, "The Road That Led to Rosa Parks," 3 Feb. 2020 The two schools got into at least three skirmishes in the game, a product of playoff hockey, according to Chaparral's Kade Carney. Jesse Morrison, azcentral, "No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Pinnacle both upset in state high school hockey semi-finals," 3 Feb. 2020 The embargo of Qatar, begun in June 2017, has grown personal, with the two sides waging nasty campaigns of media vilification, and has even led to proxy skirmishes in Somalia. New York Times, "Mohammed bin Zayed’s Dark Vision of the Middle East’s Future," 9 Jan. 2020 The events of 1917 take place prior to the Battle of Poelcappelle, a smaller skirmish in the larger Battle of Passchendaele, or the Third Battle of Ypres, but were heavily inspired by the campaign, which counted Alfred Mendes among its combatants. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "The True History Behind the ‘1917’ Movie," 20 Dec. 2019 The sea boundary is a source of tension between the two Koreas, which have fought several deadly naval skirmishes in the area in past years. Fox News, "South Korean military fires warning shots at North Korean ship over boundary dispute," 28 Nov. 2019 The lawsuit says Cieszkowski made up a false story about the skirmish in an effort to extort money from Baldwin. Karen Matthews, chicagotribune.com, "Alec Baldwin sues man who accused him of parking spot rage," 6 Nov. 2019 Jane also talks about the intensifying skirmishes in the move to put an expensive bailout of the state’s nuclear plants before voters. cleveland, "Cuyahoga County is officially getting a windfall from the opioid lawsuits, and the story behind the cheese puff pyramid scheme – This Week in the CLE," 3 Oct. 2019 My colleague Osita Nwanevu recently recapped the debate between New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari and National Review writer David French, who have become proxies of sorts for the liberal/anti-liberal skirmish in conservative circles. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Liberalism Is at a Crossroads, Not a Dead End," 12 Sep. 2019 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

5 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skirmish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skirmish. Accessed 30 Mar. 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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