\ 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

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Other Words from strife

strifeless \ ˈstrī-​fləs How to pronounce strifeless (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

Based in Hong Kong, the airline has become enmeshed in the city’s recent political strife. The Economist, "Business this week," 22 Aug. 2019 In the United States and Britain, central bankers are hoping that trade uncertainty and political strife will not kill long economic expansions. Jeanna Smialek,, "Central bankers, aiming to keep economies growing, must wrestle with politics, too," 22 Aug. 2019 The actions struck at Hong Kong’s increasingly precarious position as an efficient base for business, and signaled widening public anger over the failure of the city’s leaders to offer concessions that could defuse weeks of political strife. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "Hong Kong strike causes widespread disruption, exposes growing divide in city," 5 Aug. 2019 AP Photo A month after a million people took to its streets to protest a controversial extradition bill, Hong Kong keeps being rocked by political strife. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s last major riots reshaped the city into the one we know today," 9 July 2019 The Amhara area of Ethiopia has been impacted by political strife over the past three years as separatists battle with Abiy, a new upstart leader who is attempting to get control of the African country. Fox News, "Ethiopian government stops coup attempt, military chief killed," 23 June 2019 Or, for that matter, a civil-rights struggle, or a women’s movement, or political strife of any kind. Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, "The Graduate 50 Years After Its Oscar Win," 3 Mar. 2018 While Apple Music was thriving on the outside though, there was strife within the company. Micah Singleton, Billboard, "Apple Music's Next Era -- And the New Leader Spurring Global Growth," 25 July 2019 Now, Rory McIlroy returns as a four-time major champion with the weight of a nation on his shoulders as his native Northern Ireland welcomes golf's 148th Open Championship for the first time in 68 years because of political strife in the province. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Rory McIlroy: Golf's 'Mozart' keen to 'smell the roses' in historic Open," 17 July 2019

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

2 Sep 2019

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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

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


\ ˈstrīf How to pronounce strife (audio) \

Kids Definition of strife

: bitter and sometimes violent disagreement political strife

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More from Merriam-Webster on strife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with strife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for strife

Spanish Central: Translation of strife

Nglish: Translation of strife for Spanish Speakers

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

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).


to spread over or through

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