\ ˈstrīf How to pronounce strife (audio) \

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

Other Words from strife

strifeless \ ˈstrī-​fləs How to pronounce strife (audio) \ 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 Bad news — war, political strife, disease, hunger, suffering, intolerance — may shake one’s confidence in humanity, in its tenacity to persevere, commitment to innovate and dedication to live. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 May 2022 The California artist’s large-scale paintings exploring the pandemic, social strife and environmental degradation are on display through May 21. Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 One of the premiere events of the international art world, the Venice Biennale began in 1895, and has often found itself at the center of political strife, war and other current events. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2022 That strife, coupled with the 1966 approval of a constitutional home rule amendment that has left municipal power limited in Massachusetts, puts Boston at a competitive disadvantage, researchers have argued. Globe Staff,, 16 Apr. 2022 The intimacy on the page—Sunja’s personal strife, the blessings and sorrows that make up a life—struggles to reach the screen, the texture of her journey sacrificed in service of flashier storytelling. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Mar. 2022 By the early 2000s the movement appeared to lose steam, experts said, perhaps because of public revulsion over the bombing, internal strife, the presidency of gun-friendly George W. Bush and a crackdown on terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. John Flesher, ajc, 6 Mar. 2022 In these days of changing monetary policy, geopolitical strife, and supply chain difficulties, maintaining a strong investment discipline is paramount. David Thomas, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 Untrained militias will likely be harder to control, potentially fanning ethnic strife, rights groups and security consultants say. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, 7 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Strife.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for strife


\ ˈstrīf How to pronounce strife (audio) \

Kids Definition of strife

: bitter and sometimes violent disagreement political strife

More from Merriam-Webster on strife

Nglish: Translation of strife for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of strife for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about strife


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