tus·​sle | \ ˈtə-səl How to pronounce tussle (audio) \

Definition of tussle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a physical contest or struggle : scuffle
2 : an intense argument, controversy, or struggle


tussled; tussling\ ˈtə-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce tussle (audio) \

Definition of tussle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to struggle roughly : scuffle

Examples of tussle in a Sentence

Noun The suspect was arrested after a tussle with a security guard. a tussle for control of the company The President is in for another tussle with Congress. Verb The two basketball players tussled for the ball. The residents of the neighborhood tussled with city hall for years about the broken parking meters.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But during this tussle, Chinese media outlets had already found another way in: the coveted H-1B visa. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 6 Apr. 2022 Vic and Theo intervene in a tussle between the parents of a transgender teen; Jack uncovers the truth about his childhood. Hau Chu, Washington Post, 12 May 2022 Another man barges in, a tussle ensues, and the action spills over into a labyrinth of corridors and passages that are seemingly offstage. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 22 Apr. 2022 The tussle over Russia’s continued participation is likely to consume political capital and seriously impair the grouping’s ability to deliver for the next two years. Vasuki Shastry, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2022 All about Berkeley Every major Bay Area city is facing some sort of housing crisis, but the latest tussle over development in Berkeley illuminates the precarious balance between housing college students and the city’s longtime residents. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Feb. 2022 The unusual episode provides a glimpse into Khan’s behind-the-scenes tussle over military promotions that has underpinned a raft of troubles facing the 69-year-old former cricket star. Faseeh Mangi, Bloomberg.com, 30 Mar. 2022 Former member says public has a right to know how tax-exempt groups spend donations as legal tussle continues at appellate court. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Mar. 2022 The internet is often a profoundly pessimistic place: a repository for conspiracy theories that have developed into metanarratives, a place where anonymous avatars troll and tussle with abandon. Nick Ripatrazone, The Week, 14 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Virtually all modern hoofed mammals use their heads to tussle, including modern giraffes. New York Times, 2 June 2022 Instead, lawmakers are likely to tussle over the details of various amendments that Youngkin has suggested, many of them technical in nature. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 On the contrary, Putin's reckless invasion and barbaric siege of major Ukrainian cities have created a global sense of indignity, forcing even governments that are very reluctant to tussle with Moscow to get off the fence. David Faris, The Week, 3 Mar. 2022 As part of the Casino Royale four-episode tournament saw two local chefs tussle it out in the finale. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, 18 Feb. 2022 Rizvi testified Davis and Thornton began to argue and tussle. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Jan. 2022 Originally, Peter and Toomes weren’t supposed to battle until the third act, but the screenwriters felt the characters needed to tussle much sooner. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 15 Dec. 2021 Every day, when Reddy got home from work, Kush would run toward the door and the two would tussle like kids. Topher Sanders, ProPublica, 9 Dec. 2021 One that only people in a working democracy have the opportunity to tussle over? Chris Cillizza, CNN, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tussle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tussle


1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tussle


Middle English (Scots) tussillen, frequentative of Middle English -tusen, -tousen to tousle — more at touse

Learn More About tussle

Dictionary Entries Near tussle




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tussle

Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tussle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tussle. Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for tussle


tus·​sle | \ ˈtə-səl How to pronounce tussle (audio) \

Kids Definition of tussle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a short fight or struggle
2 : a rough argument or a struggle against difficult odds


tussled; tussling

Kids Definition of tussle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to struggle roughly : scuffle
2 : to argue or compete with

More from Merriam-Webster on tussle

Nglish: Translation of tussle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tussle for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!