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 tussling (audio) \

Definition of tussle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to struggle roughly : scuffle

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Leafs forward Kennedy, a former Bruin, decided that night to tussle with everyone but the Garden Zamboni driver. BostonGlobe.com, "■ They scored a lot, seven goals total, and rolled up an early advantage with four straight strikes in the opening 20:00. Getting the lead early and remaining in front became their trademark in October and most of November.," 27 Dec. 2019 Green missed Game 5, after a tussle with James in Game 4 gave Green four flagrant-foul points in the playoffs and triggered an automatic suspension. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Memorable moments: Stephen Curry leads Warriors to record-73rd victory," 25 Dec. 2019 Thomas rewarded his captain’s faith by defeating McIlroy in a titanic tussle that ended on the final hole when McIlroy conceded after hitting into a bunker and then water. Steve Dimeglio, The Courier-Journal, "'I have no doubt he'll deliver': Tiger Woods confident in Justin Thomas for Presidents Cup," 11 Dec. 2019 There's a yeti kidnapping, time travel, a trip to the moon, and a tussle with a team of villainous rivals who are far more civilized and likable than our protagonists. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Hashtag: Danger' Became an Adventure Comic for the Twitter Age," 9 Dec. 2019 Behind her, the townsfolk tussle and bicker; one man shares a bone with a dog; housetops collapse into the street. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Intoxicating History of Gin," 2 Dec. 2019 More from Windsor: Watching McDowell tussle with police is a gut punch. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Malik McDowell sentenced to 3 months in jail in Oakland County, must write 3 essays, too," 13 Nov. 2019 The Angels’ plan requires stealth and subterfuge, tussles and righteous speeches. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Charlie's Angels unleashes a riotous Kristen Stewart on movie that is try-hard trash: EW review," 12 Nov. 2019 How did the age cohort south of 70 feel about Mitch’s tussle with wants over needs, with professional achievement seemingly at odds with personal growth? Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Review: Cherry Creek Theatre’s “Tuesdays With Morrie” is a warm, familiar treat," 7 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fan favorite Tacko Fall, summer league standout Javonte Green, second-round draft pick Waters, former Heat forward Yante Maten, and G league standout Kaiser Gates are expected make up the crop that tussles for the last opening. BostonGlobe.com, "Celtics training camp opens Tuesday, and the Oct. 23 season opener against the 76ers is fast approaching. So with that in mind, here are 11 things you should know as the team tries to put last season’s sour finish in the rearview mirror.," 30 Sep. 2019 Lux jogged 90 feet to finish off his second career home run and break a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning Friday against a desperate team tussling for a playoff spot. Los Angeles Times, "Top prospect Gavin Lux plays his way into the Dodgers’ postseason plans," 19 Sep. 2019 The officer chased one of the attackers to the backyard of a home on Tristan Street just off Scott, where the two tussled for a few moments, Acevedo said. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "HPD officer recovering after being shot; suspect dead," 13 Sep. 2019 What is clear is that the two men are tussling for power. The Economist, "How do you reform a country where gunmen torch Ebola clinics?," 2 Aug. 2019 Nick Bosa grew up with no choice but to tussle with his brother, who is 27 months older. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Nick Bosa follows family footsteps on path to sacking quarterbacks," 6 Dec. 2019 A dozen Democrats seeking the presidency tussled Tuesday night in a debate packed with policy, flubbing some details in the process. Fortune, "Fact Checking Claims From the Fourth Democratic Debate," 15 Oct. 2019 While Hong Kong has periodically tussled with Beijing over the boundaries of its political and legal autonomy over the years, this time was different. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Hong Kong Upheaval Puts Beijing in a Bind," 16 June 2019 After the two tussled on the ground, Jennings appeared to stomp on Shelton-Moseley’s face/facemask. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings suspended for first half of bowl game for sideline stomp," 4 Dec. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for tussle

Time Traveler

The first known use of tussle was in 1629

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Statistics for tussle

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tussle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tussle. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tussle


How to pronounce tussle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tussle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short fight or struggle
: an argument or a dispute



English Language Learners Definition of tussle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fight or struggle with someone by grabbing or pushing
: to argue or compete with someone


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tussle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tussle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tussle

Spanish Central: Translation of tussle

Nglish: Translation of tussle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tussle for Arabic Speakers

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