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

After struggling to force his way into Roma's plans last season, Pellegrini was shipped out on loan to Cagliari for the second half of the campaign., "Luca Pellegrini Arrives for Juventus Medical Ahead of Leonardo Spinazzola Swap Deal," 30 June 2019 The Warriors were content knowing that Jerebko was at least an upgrade from Omri Casspi, who was waived the previous April after struggling in a similar role. Connor Letourneau,, "Jonas Jerebko: An ability to stay ready defined Warriors forward’s season," 30 June 2019 Quarterback Zach Wilson returns after taking over for struggling Tanner Mangum midway through last season, leading the Cougars to a 4-3 record in his seven starts. Matt Murschel,, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 56 BYU pushes to build on breakthrough season," 30 June 2019 In 1993-94, after struggling for a decade as independents, UAA was admitted to the WCHA and UAF was admitted to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Between proposed budget cuts and WCHA shakeup, college hockey’s future in Alaska looks shaky," 30 June 2019 More recently there has been a fashion for high-rise prisons in the middle of struggling cities. The Economist, "A jail in Denver offers some lessons for criminal-justice reformers," 28 June 2019 Parents who recently packed a board meeting to oppose the short-term proposal described the school outside Denver as a place where kids feel challenged and supported after struggling elsewhere. Washington Post, "Shooting intensifies debate over future of Colorado school," 28 June 2019 For those who wondered how long the leashes would be on struggling Milwaukee Brewers hitters Travis Shaw and Jesús Aguilar, the answer for one surfaced Thursday evening. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reports: Brewers optioning Shaw, designating Pérez for assignment, calling up Hiura and Saladino," 27 June 2019 Outsiders are usually hired to repair a struggling enterprise CEOs in big-cap America serve a long time. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "More People Named Jeffrey Got Top CEO Jobs Than Women Last Year," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But for this year's Women's World Cup, it's been a struggle for Servando to fly out to France because of scheduling conflicts. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Alex Morgan's Husband Servando Carrasco Opens Up About Their Long-Distance Marriage," 28 June 2019 Keeping San Jose’s history around has been a struggle. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "San Jose’s iconic Dancing Pig sign restored to neon glory," 22 June 2019 But where the starting pitching continued to struggle, the bullpen shined, as Matt Albers, Adrian Houser and Josh Hader slammed the door and retired all of the game's final 13 batters. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 6, Reds 5: New-look lineup and bullpen deliver as Milwaukee snaps five-game skid," 22 June 2019 In other words, lust is lust and morality is a constant struggle, regardless of gender, so the story plays widely. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "Review: A 1951 opera is making a comeback because it’s, you know, a little gay," 21 June 2019 USA TODAY Life in the minor leagues can be a struggle – long hours, long road trips and paychecks so small that critics have claimed players are being exploited. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Nationals' Adam Eaton is OK with exploiting minor-leaguers: 'For the betterment of everybody'," 21 June 2019 The post and accompanying caption spurred an outpouring of love and support, as well as personal stories from fans and friends—a welcome reminder that staying sunny is a wholly human struggle. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Lizzo Sparks a Mental Health Conversation on Instagram," 21 June 2019 Every day was a new struggle, as there was no such thing as conquering it. Henry Rollins,, "Men are expected to be ‘strong silent types’ — and it’s breaking them, says Henry Rollins," 20 June 2019 As any hiker worth her salt will tell you, figuring out the boots part of the hiking equation is a life-long struggle. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Going on a hike? A short glossary to get you from here to there," 19 June 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

4 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

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