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

The program has shown great success in helping Veterans who are struggling with mental health issues. Cincinnati Va Medical Center,, "Hope Squad provides Veterans with peer-to-peer emotional support," 15 July 2019 Ryan Leaf - the former quarterback who struggled in the NFL and battled personal problems, including a drug addiction that led to a prison sentence - has been hired by ESPN to call college football games and serve as a studio host on the network. Ben Strauss,, "ESPN hires Ryan Leaf as college football analyst," 15 July 2019 The Dodgers series started a stretch of 17 games in as many days for the Sox, who’ve struggled with keeping their bullpen fresh at least somewhat because of their starters. Julian Mcwilliams,, "Andrew Cashner scheduled for Tuesday debut with Red Sox," 15 July 2019 These are people who have struggled to shoulder an unfair number of burdens over the years. Eamon Lynch, azcentral, "Open Championship at Portrush may be the only thing Northern Ireland can agree on," 15 July 2019 Her candidacy would be contingent on the retirement of current Democratic Commissioner Todd Portune, who is struggling with his health. Andrew J. Tobias,, "Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman visit the border: Capitol Letter," 15 July 2019 The lone exception is the flag placed by Armstrong and Aldrin, who had struggled to plant the flagpole in the unexpectedly hard lunar soil. NBC News, "Apollo 11: Eleven things you never knew about NASA's landmark moon mission," 14 July 2019 But three players who are really struggling right now: Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka and Sascha Zverev. Jon Wertheim,, "50 Parting Thoughts From Wimbledon 2019," 14 July 2019 Barreto, who has struggled since his June 30 promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas — 2-for-23 with 10 strikeouts — will bat ninth against Chicago right-hander Dylan Covey. Ron Kroichick,, "Franklin Barreto rejoins A’s lineup, seeking good pitches to hit," 13 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Healthcare workers at three Beaumont hospitals are outraged by top executive’s swelling salaries in light of their struggle for better wages, more affordable health care and stronger staffing. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Union: Beaumont CEO's compensation jumps 82%, workers outraged over low wages," 15 July 2019 Workplace and policy changes can alleviate their struggles. Frank J. Infurna, The Conversation, "The real midlife crisis confronting many Americans," 15 July 2019 After the Padres tried to let Myers play through his struggles, leaving Margot out of the starting lineup 27 times in a 38-game stretch from May 11-June 22. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Manuel Margot finally tightening zone, flying on bases for Padres," 14 July 2019 Barreto shed his recent offensive struggles Saturday, launching a three-run homer to punctuate Oakland’s seven-run first inning. Ron Kroichick,, "Franklin Barreto swats three-run homer as A’s roll past White Sox," 13 July 2019 The Cuphead Show, currently in production, will channel the game's homages to 1930s Fleischer-era animation to, presumably, tell wacky violent stories about a sentient cup and his struggles with the world around him. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Lord of the Rings," 12 July 2019 Thankfully, K-pop stars are becoming more and more open about discussing their struggles with mental health than ever before. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Mina of K-Pop Group Twice Will Sit Out of World Tour to Address "Sudden Extreme Anxiety"," 11 July 2019 All of the women were able to fight the man off, but one of them suffered a broken collarbone in her struggle to escape. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "Watch: Indecent exposure suspect wanted for grabbing women, Grapevine police warn," 10 July 2019 Many supporters are said to be frustrated with his inability to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the team, whilst his injury struggles have also marred his time in Spain., "Gareth Bale Abused by Real Madrid Fan Upon Return for Pre-Season," 9 July 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

18 Jul 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

Comments on struggle

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