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 And without plenty of consumers willing to resume their old patterns of spending, businesses will struggle to regain their footing. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Coronavirus surge in states that rushed to reopen is hurting economic growth," 25 June 2020 Top officials should not struggle to answer basic questions on stories receiving top billing in the news media. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "White House struggles to offer consistent message on range of major topics," 23 June 2020 To be sure, even the most robust of organizations would struggle to deal with an increase of that scale. oregonlive, "Participants offer inside look at employment department debacle," 20 June 2020 At the same time, incomes may struggle, even with the boost from jobless benefits. Reade Pickert,, "Surge in U.S. Incomes Masks Fragile Situation for Many Americans," 17 June 2020 With less trading in players expected because of the pandemic, clubs that balance their books by selling their stars to bigger teams may also struggle. The Economist, "The Premier League will suffer a big financial hit from the pandemic," 16 June 2020 If the coronavirus is still a significant problem on November 3—which it very well could be—states may struggle to find suitable polling places and recruit enough poll workers. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Georgia shows why November’s election could be chaos," 16 June 2020 In addition to the soaking rain, temperatures in the East will struggle to get into the low 70s on Monday. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Southeast to see days of heavy rainfall as critical wildfire conditions linger out West," 15 June 2020 With New York’s tax revenue decreasing by tens of millions due to the real estate industry’s dramatic decline in transactions during the pandemic, the state may struggle to pay for essential services. Washington Examiner, "Real estate revenue, a key source for New York City, dries up during pandemic," 15 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tracking down a recipe for everything in the box can be fun — or time-consuming (and may even result in buying more things that are a struggle to use up). Marshall Bright, CNN Underscored, "7 ways to make the most of a CSA farm share box," 24 June 2020 In that circulated widely online, Johnson initially appeared to resist, resulting in a struggle with several officers. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "Wisconsin state senator attacked by protesters as demonstrations in Madison turn violent," 24 June 2020 Officers attempted to arrest Brooks, and there was a struggle. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Likely girlfriend of Rayshard Brooks arrested in Wendy's arson case," 23 June 2020 And so one of the things that is a struggle with helping people deal with coyote conflict is some of the things have to do with changing behavior—supervising your dog in the backyard, walking your dog on a leash. National Geographic, "Epsiode 2: The Unstoppable Wily Coyote," 23 June 2020 That was a struggle — not only because there's a lack of people that look like you, but there's also a lack of role models and a lack of access to mentorship. Kelly P. Franklin, USA TODAY, "Black in Academia: An interview with UT astronomer Keith Hawkins," 20 June 2020 Coaching the softball team at Mount Notre Dame while juggling work for the Ohio Hawks wasn’t a struggle for Joseforsky. Alex Harrison,, "Mount Notre Dame, travel coach Julie Joseforsky bolsters Cincinnati's softball pipeline," 11 June 2020 But getting Unbothered off the ground was a struggle, according to its founders. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Refinery29 is reeling from claims of racism and toxic work culture. Employees say it's even worse behind the scenes," 11 June 2020 The case of the Vietnamese asylum-seekers is relevant, too, beyond Hong Kong’s current struggle with China. Jana Lipman, The Conversation, "Why Hong Kong’s untold history of protecting refugee rights matters now in its struggle with China," 4 June 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

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Struggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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