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

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of struggle in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun 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 With small- or mid-sized non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) struggling to raise debt, the government has launched a Rs30,000-crore special liquidity scheme. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "Who benefits, and by how much, from India’s $266 billion economic stimulus," 14 May 2020 Doctors are racing to understand silent hypoxia, in which patients expected to be struggling for air are instead calm and responsive, using cell phones and chatting with physicians. Jun Michael Park, National Geographic, "There’s no earthquake to warn you, because you’re on the other side of the Indian Ocean.," 13 May 2020 Maile has struggled at the plate for most of his career with a career batting average of .198 with 10 home runs, 60 RBI and 53 runs scored. James Weber,, "Catching Up with Luke Maile: CovCath grad hopes to restart with Pittsburgh Pirates," 11 May 2020 Alternatively, if there’s more than one go-getter in the mix, group projects can devolve into power struggles with multiple students vying for control, leaving swaths of toothpick detritus in their wake. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "New research finds the key trait in people who help their teams outperform," 8 May 2020 By contrast Spain, Italy and the U.S. have struggled to contain the virus’s spread. Charles Hankla, The Conversation, "How disorderly democracies can outperform efficient autocracies in tackling coronavirus," 7 May 2020 This can leave shooters with limited grip strength to struggle with operation. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "5 Reliable Handguns Under $500," 4 May 2020 But without taking ownership — something the city arguably has struggled to do — Indianapolis won’t be able to move past it, Beaubien said. Sarah Bowman, IndyStar, "The White River: Cleanup follows decades of civil rights abuses. Now who will benefit?," 2 May 2020 Not only have countries struggled to roll out wide-scale testing for the virus, those efforts inevitably will miss people who have recovered from an infection. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Unprecedented nationwide blood studies seek to track U.S. coronavirus spread," 7 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The federal–state power struggle was, if anything, more acute in Mexico than in the United States, except that Mexican nationalists rarely faced united regional blocs of states after the fashion of the American South. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "The Real History of Cinco de Mayo," 5 May 2020 The industry’s struggles in recent years have been one of the main reasons for a slowdown in the $2.7 trillion economy, Asia’s third-largest. Anirban Nag,, "India’s Path Out of Pandemic Slump Hobbled by Shadow Bank Crisis," 5 May 2020 The family's struggle with grief is the emotional through line in the 10-episode first season, which is drolly narrated by tennis star John McEnroe. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Netflix's 'Never Have I Ever': How Mindy Kaling made the teen show she always wanted," 27 Apr. 2020 Of course, Demi has been very outspoken about her struggles growing up in the business. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Demi Lovato Reveals She Was “Miserable” While Filming “Sonny With a Chance”," 27 Apr. 2020 The details are different but the struggle is the same. Allison Mcgevna, Essence, "A Letter Of Hope To Black Women Struggling With Infertility," 25 Apr. 2020 All our struggles are being exacerbated by the virus. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Street Artists Around the World Are Reacting to Life With COVID-19," 24 Apr. 2020 This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat—a dangerous enemy. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "WHO answers Trump’s attack with call for unity against COVID-19," 15 Apr. 2020 At home, the family's biggest struggle is finding a quiet space., "Brewer Russ Klisch is reading and eating cookies. How he and other Milwaukeeans are staying sane while staying home.," 14 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for struggle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for struggle

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Struggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for struggle


How to pronounce struggle (audio)

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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