\ˈstrīf \

Definition of strife 

1a : bitter sometimes violent conflict or dissension political strife

b : an act of contention : fight, struggle

2 : exertion or contention for superiority

3 archaic : earnest endeavor

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Other Words from strife

strifeless \ˈstrī-fləs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for strife

discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony. discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism. a political party long racked by discord strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved. during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires. the conflict of freedom and responsibility contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy. several points of contention about the new zoning law dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions. religious dissension threatened to split the colony variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest. cultural variances that work against a national identity

Examples of strife in a Sentence

in order to avoid family strife, the children spend equal time during the holidays with both of their grandmothers bitter strife between the two political factions

Recent Examples on the Web

In recent years ethnic strife and war has claimed more than 5 million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. Brian Albrecht,, "Congolese part of new tapestry of immigration to Cleveland," 1 Apr. 2018 An analysis of a movie studio’s practices, drawing connections between internal strife and creative output, falls beyond my critical purview. Justin Chang,, "How the dazzling, overstuffed ‘Incredibles 2’ holds up a cracked mirror to present-day reality," 4 July 2018 Clark also talks about his union’s history of labor strife, technology and, of course, his too-hard, not-hard-enough hit in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2004 American League Championship Series at Fenway Park., "(Insert Your Nickname Here) Shows Baseball’s Road Map (Podcast)," 24 Aug. 2017 Its sacrifice means Real Orion won't have to endure that same strife and the potential ensuing damage. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double," 12 July 2018 Deportations have continued at a brisk pace, even to countries torn by strife and poverty, such as Nicaragua and Venezuela. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Feds decided to deport her — two decades after her Miami marijuana arrest," 5 July 2018 Argentina had been a mess in the group stage, racked by internal strife and tactical confusion. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "A Teenage Star Speeds France Past Argentina in World Cup," 30 June 2018 His life was filled with family strife and lawsuits alleging business improprieties, but many of his buildings have stood the test of time. Hadley Meares, Los Angeles Magazine, "Who Was That? The People Behind Famous L.A. Place Names," 20 June 2018 Against the Wall Other overtures to the international community have occurred when the socialists have faced domestic strife and criticism abroad. Andrew Rosati,, "Venezuelan Autocrat Maduro Attempts a Public Relations Coup," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'strife.' 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 strife

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for strife

Middle English strif, from Anglo-French estrif, estri, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch striden to fight, Old High German strītan to quarrel — more at stride

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Statistics for strife

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for strife

The first known use of strife was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for strife



English Language Learners Definition of strife

: very angry or violent disagreement between two or more people or groups


\ˈstrīf \

Kids Definition of strife

: bitter and sometimes violent disagreement political strife

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Comments on strife

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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