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

Having lost so much foreign support, Liberia’s economy is struggling. Jessica Eise, The Conversation, "How an aid gusher helped and hurt Liberia," 14 June 2019 The dip largely mirrors both countries economic struggles with sluggish growth and high unemployment. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria and South Africa’s economic struggles are starting to hurt African phone sales," 13 June 2019 As the turtle struggles to free itself from the net, a group of concerned bystanders come to its aid to remove the net and return it to the ocean. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Visitors to Panama City Beach Save Sea Turtle Stuck in Net," 12 June 2019 Even as Roebuck struggled, those in charge of Reverse Mortgage Solutions continued to profit. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 As officials struggled to get a handle on what had happened, truckloads of supplies had already been dispatched by a nearby front chapter. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "When disaster hits, Indonesia's Islamists are first to help," 11 June 2019 But the creeping cost of housing is pinching a middle class already struggling with flat wages, rising child care costs, and the skyrocketing price tag of a four-year college degree. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Hey, middle class, the housing crisis is coming for you next," 11 June 2019 For those who grew up in a world where young girls struggled to find teams, the rate of the progress made in recent years has come as a surprise. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Women's World Cup 2019: The most important in history," 6 June 2019 And the episode doesn’t show it either, dancing around their jealousy, admiration, brotherhood, and power struggles with each other. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Black Mirror’s “Striking Vipers” is like “San Junipero” without the heart," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Louisiana’s child population has dropped by 100,000 since 1990, and the latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation attributes the decline to the state’s struggle to address challenges related to children’s overall well-being., "Louisiana’s child population drops by 100k over last 3 decades," 17 June 2019 Or did last season’s struggle’s permanently damage his chances of succeeding as a starter in Boston? Chris Mannix,, "So Much for Kyrie and AD: Where Do the Celtics Go From Here?," 17 June 2019 Currently, Central American migrants returned under MPP have to wait months for their first court hearing in the U.S. — and during that time, many struggle to find legal counsel, employment, housing and security in Mexico's border cities. CBS News, "Trump's plan to deter migrants with "Remain in Mexico" faces logistical and legal hurdles," 14 June 2019 Onscreen graphics provide a countdown to the upcoming election, as Yaakov's growing movement, who incongruously model themselves after the Black Panthers, struggle for recognition. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Unorthodox': Film Review," 14 June 2019 Councilman Rey Saldaña, in his final council meeting after eight years serving the Southwest Side, addressed this struggle on Thursday. Gilbert Garcia,, "Hays Street Bridge activists score a bitter victory," 14 June 2019 Many Liberian civil servants have told us that their pay is being cut or their paychecks delayed, prompting struggles to pay rent and school fees for their children. Jessica Eise, The Conversation, "How an aid gusher helped and hurt Liberia," 14 June 2019 The reality is that bloody misery has always been the default, and tolerance the exception — progress is an ugly but necessary struggle. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Why I’m No Longer Talking to Anyone about Anything," 13 June 2019 The good news for UK is if Wilson does struggle, the backup position appears to have been upgraded with Troy graduate transfer Sawyer Smith, who started seven games last year, including a bowl. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "UK Mailbag: Basketball returner and newcomer to watch, football expectations and more," 13 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

20 Jun 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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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