1 of 2


tus·​sle ˈtə-səl How to pronounce tussle (audio)
: a physical contest or struggle : scuffle
: an intense argument, controversy, or struggle


2 of 2


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

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 Two 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
The quest leads to revelations about the underground network, run-ins with dubious characters from above and below and — most welcome of all — tussles with mutant roaches and an underwater beast. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, 10 Apr. 2024 Related article Why Modi’s beach shots sparked calls for an Indian boycott of Maldives tourism But Maldives has long found itself in the middle of a geopolitical tussle with both India and China vying for influence. Helen Regan, CNN, 5 Mar. 2024 Star Garden reopened in August, after a 15-month tussle during which club management fired more than a dozen dancers, contested the results of a union election held by strippers, filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors. Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2024 After a riveting 90 minutes, extra time was largely a non-event, with the highlight coming when Kai Havertz pushed Porto manager Sergio Conceição to spark a tussle on the touchline. Matias Grez, CNN, 12 Mar. 2024 More recently, Epic has continued its tussle with Apple over changes to the App Store. Andrew Webster, The Verge, 8 Mar. 2024 The play-by-play of who’s-aligned-with-who and who-said-what-to-whom may have the air of a salacious HBO drama, but, naked Oppenheimer tweets aside, this argument would seem to run deeper than a superficial tussle of big egos. Allie Garfinkle, Fortune, 5 Mar. 2024 Who better to play the mythological god of war than a guy who’s seen his share of battles, cage matches and tussles filled with tables, ladders and chairs over three decades? USA TODAY, 10 Jan. 2024 Music industry strikes back Battle lines are being drawn in the music industry as creators brace for a tussle over their content being used by sophisticated models to make new forms of art. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 18 Mar. 2024
Over the last year, Brazil, China, and India have tussled to present themselves as the group’s most effective leaders. Comfort Ero, Foreign Affairs, 1 Apr. 2024 Rowdy bear cub siblings tussled with each other and slipped inside a narrow crawlspace in a California building — so their mom had to bust in after them. Brooke Baitinger, Sacramento Bee, 29 Feb. 2024 Off the resumption of play at center ice, forwards mixed it up as the Ducks’ Ross Johnston tussled with Columbus’ Mathieu Olivier. Josh Gross, Orange County Register, 25 Feb. 2024 Local, state and federal officials, along with advocates and boaters, tussled over boat speeds for more than a decade. USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2024 Sharif tussled with the gunman and gained control of the weapon. Rich Schapiro, NBC News, 12 Jan. 2024 The Illinois Nurses Association filed a number of charges against Howard Brown Health with Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board after tussling with the health center over jobs and negotiations late last year and early this year. Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune, 20 July 2023 Cruise then tussled this past summer with San Francisco’s city attorney and fire department over more incidents. David Welch, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 The rest of the movie finds the two teams tussling for supremacy, with only Kira and her opposite number, Vetrov (Masha Mashkova), known as Nika, risking a tenuous pact. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tussle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1638, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tussle was in 1629

Dictionary Entries Near tussle

Cite this Entry

“Tussle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tussle. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
tus·​sle ˈtəs-əl How to pronounce tussle (audio)
tussled; tussling


2 of 2 noun
: a physical contest or struggle
: a rough argument or a struggle against difficult odds

More from Merriam-Webster on tussle

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