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

brush, encounter, hassle, run-in, scrape

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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 the skirmishes that followed, a student from a high school in the Tai Po district was violently apprehended by police in a subway station. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong high-school students formed human chains in solidarity with protesters," 9 Sep. 2019 Officers intervened in occasional skirmishes at or near the park and seized a stun gun, bear spray, a shield, and metal and wooden poles from the protesters, the police said. Mike Baker, New York Times, "Portland Protests: Far-Right Groups and Antifa Face Off as Trump Weighs In," 17 Aug. 2019 Palestinian medics said at least 14 people were wounded, one seriously, in the skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount. Fox News, "Riots outside Jerusalem holy site injure several people including police, reports say," 12 Aug. 2019 Palestinian medics said at least 14 people were wounded, one seriously, in the skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount. NBC News, "Muslim worshippers clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site," 11 Aug. 2019 India and Pakistan have fought two wars and engaged in countless cross-border military skirmishes over Kashmir. oregonlive.com, "Kashmir, nexus of conflict between nuclear antagonists India and Pakistan, faces crackdown, plunges into fear," 5 Aug. 2019 There is a monument to the Confederate dead in this cemetery; there are markers for unknown Confederates killed in skirmishes nearby. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 His narrative — authored with a ghost writer and under the name James Roberts — describes Robinson scalping Indians and taking part in skirmishes on the Eastern Shore. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "Twice denied the freedom he'd earned, black Revolutionary War hero from Maryland to be honored at last," 21 June 2019 Russian supporters were involved in bloody skirmishes with rival fans, including an infamous incident with English followers, at the 2016 European Championships in France. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Russia's World Cup: Will Vladimir Putin keep the peace?," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 As drug companies skirmished over intellectual property, 24 million people got sicker. Katherine Eban, Quartz India, "How an Indian tycoon fought Big Pharma to sell AIDS drugs for $1 a day," 15 July 2019 Laurie Wells portrays her exasperated mom, Katherine, trying to prepare for the wedding and a fashion-magazine photo shoot while verbally skirmishing with Ellie. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "An enjoyable tale of transformation in North Shore Music Theatre’s ‘Freaky Friday’," 15 July 2019 Officials have skirmished over foreign washing machines and Canadian softwood lumber imports. The Economist, "America is deploying a new economic arsenal to assert its power," 6 June 2019 Armed separatists have skirmished with road workers and the military, which is now overseeing highway construction. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Shrinking Japan’s Fleet; Squeezing the Grocers; Highway Dividing Lines," 8 Mar. 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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Learn More about skirmish

Dictionary Entries near skirmish

skip zone

Skire Thursday

skirl

skirmish

skirmish line

skirr

skirreh

Statistics for skirmish

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skirmish

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

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More Definitions for skirmish

skirmish

noun

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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More from Merriam-Webster on skirmish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skirmish

Spanish Central: Translation of skirmish

Nglish: Translation of skirmish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about skirmish

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