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

For days, Medina has been struggling to find the words to console his congregation. CNN, "Their parents were taken in Mississippi immigration raids. For these kids, the trauma is just beginning," 11 Aug. 2019 Domingo German is facing an innings limit, big-game pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has struggled to find his split-finger fastball all season and James Paxton has only just begun to put together consistent starts. Kristie Ackert,, "Vlad Jr. smacks a 2-RBI triple to hand Yankees their second straight loss," 11 Aug. 2019 Key Talking Point Harry Kane's difficulties in August have long been documented, as the striker has struggled to find the net during the opening month of the season over recent years., "Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Subdued Spurs Sneak Past Valiant Villa," 10 Aug. 2019 Job losses, a struggling economy and a debilitating opioid epidemic have punished the population. Washington Post, "Devastation on top of devastation: The people of Dayton try to recover, again.," 10 Aug. 2019 Boosted by that success, Yang then founded his own animation company in the Chinese city of Chengdu, but spent the next six years toiling on his debut feature and struggling to find financing for the project — what would ultimately become Ne Zha. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Chinese Animation Film 'Ne Zha' Became a Surprise $400M-Plus Hit," 8 Aug. 2019 The sarcophagus dates back to the chaotic months in the aftermath of the 1986 disaster, when the Soviet Union was struggling to contain the nuclear explosion. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Chernobyl's Historic Sarcophagus to Be Dismantled," 7 Aug. 2019 The commercial portion of the building has been struggling for months to find tenants for more than 42,000 square feet of vacant office space, despite advertising rents well below the area's average, listings and data from real estate brokers show. Shahien Nasiripour,, "Trump Tower now one of NYC’s least desirable luxury buildings," 6 Aug. 2019 Cheyenne Cottrell tried to save her husband, who began to struggle against the strong current, said Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman and retired commander with the sheriff's office. Tyler J Davis, USA TODAY, "'Dalton wanted to serve': Iowa man drowns during Florida honeymoon," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Up to this point, connecting has been a struggle for Mr. O’Rourke. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "After El Paso Shooting, Will Voters Revisit Beto O’Rourke?," 11 Aug. 2019 Bryan Moore: There was a pretty violent struggle which resulted in strangulation and possible drowning. CBS News, "Peter Chadwick caught: Fugitive murder suspect goes from real estate millionaire to bussing tables during years on the run," 10 Aug. 2019 Research papers trigger it, too, as scientists are so inundated with the volume of new results that just barely keeping up is a struggle. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Spin in psychiatric clinical trial reports is widespread," 9 Aug. 2019 Gravity is so strong that every step is a struggle. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News," 8 Aug. 2019 The Stand tells the story of a plague that wipes out 99 percent of the population with the survivors embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. James Hibberd,, "The Stand TV series casts 4 actors, Stephen King to write new ending," 1 Aug. 2019 The segment clearly lacks innovation and finding a good quality product is a struggle. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A young, US-educated entrepreneur is giving Indian men’s underwear a makeover," 31 July 2019 Getting pregnant a second time, turned out to be a struggle. Mandy Behbehani,, "Tech boom in fertility apps aids women struggling to get pregnant," 30 July 2019 How to characterize erroneous testimony in a capital case by one of the the world’s most famous criminologists was a struggle for the justices. Edmund H. Mahony,, "More than three decades later, troubling questions and contradictions remain about two murder convictions and the role of forensic scientist Henry Lee," 23 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

15 Aug 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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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