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 William Crowley, a Southwest employee hitching a ride in a jump seat, heard what sounded like a marble crashing into glass, then a din so loud people struggled to hear each other. Washington Post, "‘It appeared that we had time’: How the FAA missed a chance to save Jennifer Riordan," 3 Dec. 2019 Last year alone, 162 organizations benefited from the $2.1 million raised by the campaign, with 100% of the contributions going directly to nonprofits that help struggling children and families, improve educational skills and serve older adults. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Here's how to help Season for Sharing, other charities this Giving Tuesday," 2 Dec. 2019 Dairy farmers, many of whom are struggling amid a downturn in milk prices, are required by Congress to pay into a checkoff program overseen by the Department of Agriculture. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ex-agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack is the top paid executive at Dairy Management," 2 Dec. 2019 Just about everyone expected the Beavers would struggle to handle Oregon’s physicality, defense and offensive attack in the Civil War. John Canzano | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Canzano: Judging the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers by different standards," 1 Dec. 2019 But there is one genre of food hall that is picking up steam and still getting everybody excited: culinary incubators for entrepreneurs struggling to get access to the resources needed to start businesses. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "The Best Things Restaurants Did in 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 The Gators did not need fans to show up in force to handle struggling FSU, but UF’s second full house of the season - and just the third since 2015 - was nice to see. Edgar Thompson,, "10 things we learned from Gators’ 40-17 win over FSU," 1 Dec. 2019 The Giants are 1-4 at home and often struggle to score points. Ken Pomponio, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Green Bay Packers at New York Giants odds, picks and best bets," 30 Nov. 2019 One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground. Anchorage Daily News, "2 killed in London stabbings; police fatally shoot suspect, had been jailed for terrorism crimes," 30 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The romantic thriller road movie is incredibly specific, and yet simultaneously showcases a universal black story – a depiction of the struggle to survive as a black person in America, through whatever means necessary. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "Why Lena Waithe's powerful new movie 'Queen & Slim' will have audiences talking," 26 Nov. 2019 Even the slow natural decay of a flower in the ground is a consequence of this struggle to survive as long as possible. Kyle Chayka, Harper's magazine, "Being in Nothingness," 25 Nov. 2019 Santa Rosa police on Friday were still investigating the death of a 55-year-old man whose body was found a day prior with injuries and signs of a struggle inside a home in the 1000 block of Jennings Avenue. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Santa Rosa police investigate 55-year-old man’s suspicious death," 22 Nov. 2019 Camera angles of the struggle between Garrett and Rudolph didn’t provide evidence that a racial slur was used. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "NFL had no recorded sound from the field in determining there was no evidence Mason Rudolph hurled a racial slur at Myles Garrett, source says," 22 Nov. 2019 Yet that sluggish narrative -- as Bilott's pursuit grinds on and the years tick by -- is presented with purpose, highlighting the epic nature of the struggle. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Dark Waters' casts Mark Ruffalo as the crusading lawyer who toppled DuPont," 21 Nov. 2019 Few would be surprised if this was a bit more of a defensive struggle than most think. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Spurs-Wizards odds: San Antonio a slight road favorite," 20 Nov. 2019 The authors’ willingness to shape their methodology to fit their conclusion and to lapse into self-contradiction when necessary is never more apparent than in their attempt to spin the history of U.S. tax policy as one of class struggle. Joshua R. Hendrickson, National Review, "An Oversimplified, Misleading Argument about Inequality and Taxes," 20 Nov. 2019 The unknown suspect appeared to have forced entry to the home and there was evidence of a struggle, officials said. Zach Murdock,, "Authorities offer $50,000 reward for information in unsolved murder of East Hartford veteran last year," 20 Nov. 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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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

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Struggle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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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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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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