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

Media companies have struggled to adapt to readers’ shift online and the surge of free articles the web made possible. Tali Arbel, The Seattle Times, "Newspapers largely shun Apple’s news subscription service," 27 Mar. 2019 Sears and Kmart have also struggled financially, and have been forced to close many locations. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Payless Fans Are Devastated After Learning All U.S. Stores Are Closing," 17 Feb. 2019 Many cities have struggled to manage this economic complexity. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 In the past, TV and movie writers have struggled with how to use a superhero who swims pretty well and can talk to fish. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream a different version of Aquaman from home," 21 Dec. 2018 Noelle Bush, 41, has struggled to find her footing. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meet the 14 People Who Called George H.W. Bush Grandfather," 6 Dec. 2018 Since going to the police, Kruk has struggled to extract her case from the criminal-justice system in Philadelphia. Kim Tran, Teen Vogue, "Transformative Justice, Explained," 15 Nov. 2018 And advertising has always struggled with that just because of the nature of what’s being transacted. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Netflix will get ads, predicts the Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green," 15 Nov. 2018 Berlin has struggled to come to terms with Trump's willingness to cast aside international agreements signed by his predecessors, such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. Fox News, "Germany seeks to woo Americans amid rocky Trump relationship," 3 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There was also a template for my biggest struggle—to-do lists—complete with a suggestion for how to map out my days as a freelance writer. Gia Miller, SELF, "Hiring a Coach for My ADHD Transformed My Life and Productivity," 27 Mar. 2019 Seeing her switch and struggle to find where was most suited for her was fascinating. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "#ReadWithMC Reviews Fiona Barton's 'The Suspect'," 4 Mar. 2019 Anthony won that power struggle, only to eventually embrace the position change as the entire league, with the Warriors leading the way, emphasized small-ball lineups. Des Bieler,, "Carmelo Anthony reportedly talking to Rockets and Heat as he gets set to leave Thunder," 11 July 2018 Amid continuing sales struggles, directors of the cosmetics company have discussed a sale to Brazilian rival Natura Cosmeticos SA, a person familiar with the matter said. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "Avon, After Breakup, Explores Deal That Would Put It Back Together," 22 Mar. 2019 Walmart understands the holiday struggle, which is why most locations will remain open during normal operating hours on Easter. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Here Are Walmart's Easter Hours, Just in Case You Need to Make a Last-Minute Shopping Trip," 1 Mar. 2019 Or the struggle with nature that a deep-sea diver knows. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019 Finally, the fan supposes that the fierce feline was chosen due to its symbolism for bravery and courage—a nod to Carrie's recent struggles, including the fall that injured her face and her tragic miscarriages. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "'Masked Singer' Fans Have a Theory That Carrie Underwood Is on the Show," 6 Jan. 2019 Here were black South Africans competing against white South Africans, sharing, for a brief moment, the same goal, the same struggle, the same pain. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "South Africa's unlikely ultramarathoner helps others cross the finish line," 6 July 2018

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

11 Apr 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

What made you want to look up struggle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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