strug·​gle | \ ˈstrə-gəl How to pronounce struggle (audio) \
struggled; struggling\ ˈstrə-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce struggling (audio) \

Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition struggling with the problem
2 : to proceed with difficulty or with great effort struggled through the high grass struggling to make a living



Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : contest, strife armed struggle a power struggle
2 : a violent effort or exertion : an act of strongly motivated striving a struggle to make ends meet
3 : tussle sense 1 during the struggle the gun went off

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Other Words from struggle


struggler \ ˈstrə-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce struggler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for struggle

Synonyms: Verb

blunder, bumble, flog [British], flounder, limp, lumber, plod, stumble, trudge

Synonyms: Noun

battle, fight, fray, scrabble, throes

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Examples of struggle in a Sentence


He has been struggling with the problem of how to keep good workers from leaving. They struggled for the right to vote. She struggled up the hill through the snow. She struggled to lift the package by herself, but it was too heavy. He struggled to get free of the wreckage. He's been struggling in math class for most of the year. The team has continued to struggle in recent weeks. He was living as a struggling artist in the city.


the struggle for civil rights There was a struggle for the gun. There was no sign of a struggle. It was a struggle getting out of bed this morning.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Every single one of us is struggling with something, and no one’s perfect. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Ashley Tisdale's New Album 'Symptoms' Is a Love Letter to Herself," 3 May 2019 Despite all the information out there about how to catch more zzz's — from meditating before bed to avoiding screens — many of us are still struggling. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "15 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight, According to Experts," 2 May 2019 Building a Home at 547 Barnard Throughout her father's cancer battle, Lindsey was struggling with an ailment of her own. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Lindsey Weidhorn Is the Woman Behind All Your Favorite HGTV Shows," 2 Apr. 2019 When some teens were just beginning to take their first sips of beer, Dylan was already struggling with alcoholism. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Remembering Luke Perry, the Poster Boy of '90s Studs," 4 Mar. 2019 These closures range from the Smithsonian to the Internal Revenue Service and many people are now struggling to figure out how to afford basic necessities like rent, bills, and groceries. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "5 Ways the Government Shutdown Is Impacting Americans," 3 Jan. 2019 Fortunately or not, search engines are still struggling to provide a comprehensive list of shopping deals. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Bing's Black Friday research tools are hit-and-miss," 16 Nov. 2018 In North Dakota, Native Americans are struggling to vote in the face of new voter ID restrictions from the GOP. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why You Need to Vote—Even If You Don't Want To," 3 Nov. 2018 Reports have indicated that Intel was struggling to develop a 5G modem that met phone makers’ size and power demands. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Intel’s exit leaves Qualcomm in full control of the 5G smartphone modem roadmap," 17 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Which isn't funny, by the way: More than 6 million women in the U.S. struggle with fertility, so staging a fake pregnancy stunt is a bit problematic. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Justin Bieber Just Teased That Hailey Baldwin Might Be Pregnant," 1 Apr. 2019 Hamilton had a public struggle with drug abuse in her youth, but became sober at 17. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Tina Fey and Carol Burnett Are Working on a Movie Based on Burnett's Memoir Carrie and Me," 27 Mar. 2019 In fact, according to Dreampad Sleep, 27 percent of the population has trouble falling asleep and 68 percent struggle with difficulties sleeping at least once a week. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "The Dreampad Smart Pillow Put Me to Sleep in Minutes After the Most Stressful Day," 26 Mar. 2019 In an excerpt from Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, Jenny wrote about Whoopi's alleged power struggle with Barbara. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The View's Former Co-Host Jenny McCarthy SLAMS Whoopi Goldberg in New “Tell-All” Book," 21 Mar. 2019 The explosion conjured up images of Colombia’s struggle with cocaine gangs in the 1980s and ‘90s, when terror bombings were frequently carried out by drug cartel kingpins. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Car Bomb at Colombian Police Academy Kills 21," 18 Jan. 2019 The divorce was only finalized earlier this month, following Affleck's public struggle with alcohol addiction. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jennifer Garner Reportedly Has a New Boyfriend Following Her Divorce from Ben Affleck," 24 Oct. 2018 That is largely because the choices are not seen as the apex of a political struggle with consequences that could endure for a generation. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Selecting a Supreme Court justice doesn’t have to be a battle royal. Here’s how other countries do it.," 10 July 2018 The unwavering backing from powerful friends is in sharp contrast to the muddled response by the U.S. administration, and something none of the other Arab leaders benefited from in their own struggle against their opponents. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for struggle


Middle English struglen

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Statistics for struggle

Last Updated

9 May 2019

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Time Traveler for struggle

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

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More Definitions for struggle



English Language Learners Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try very hard to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems
: to move with difficulty or with great effort
: to try to move yourself, an object, etc., by making a lot of effort



English Language Learners Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long effort to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems
: a physical fight between usually two people
: something that is difficult to do or achieve


strug·​gle | \ ˈstrə-gəl How to pronounce struggle (audio) \
struggled; struggling

Kids Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a great effort to do or achieve something or to overcome someone or something I struggled with the burglar. We're struggling with money problems.
2 : to move with difficulty or with great effort A woman struggled through the snow.



Kids Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a difficult or violent effort Though it was a struggle to lift my eyes, I did so.— Avi, Crispin

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More from Merriam-Webster on struggle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with struggle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for struggle

Spanish Central: Translation of struggle

Nglish: Translation of struggle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of struggle for Arabic Speakers

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