war

1 of 4

noun

often attributive
1
a(1)
: a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations
(2)
: a period of such armed conflict
(3)
b
: the art or science of warfare
c(1)
obsolete : weapons and equipment for war
(2)
archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2
a
: a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
b
: a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end
a class war
a war against disease
warless adjective

war

2 of 4

verb (1)

warred; warring

intransitive verb

1
: to be in active or vigorous conflict
2
: to engage in warfare

war

3 of 4

adverb or adjective

chiefly Scotland
: worse

war

4 of 4

verb (2)

warred; warring

Examples of war in a Sentence

Noun They fought a war over the disputed territory. A war broke out when the colonists demanded their independence. We need to resolve our conflicts without resorting to war. People behave differently during a time of war. The taking of American hostages was seen as an act of war by the United States. the budget wars in Washington See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But Aang has been missing for 100 years, allowing the Fire Nation to wage a war for global domination. Nick Romano, EW.com, 21 Feb. 2024 This is not a war that Europe can afford to lose, and its narrative, for domestic and external audiences, has to reflect that. TIME, 21 Feb. 2024 The case may come down to a war of experts over safety standards in the film industry, and what steps should have been taken to ensure there were no live rounds on set. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 The outbreak of war and the Druze sacrifices have prompted many within government to call for an amendment of the law, but Saab argues that a kneejerk reaction is not the answer. Lianne Kolirin, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 In the early weeks of the war, Ukrainians found salve in dark absurdist humor. Nicola Fegg, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2024 Not finding a way even to vote on this legislation — as Russia gains the upper hand in Ukraine and as Israel continues to wage a war of self-defense against its terrorist enemies — would add to the dismal picture. The Editors, National Review, 21 Feb. 2024 Now, the latest front in that war may be a bill being considered by California lawmakers. Andrew Sheeler, Sacramento Bee, 20 Feb. 2024 Protesters back in the streets As the war drags on, the emergency unity government that was established after the attacks is looking increasingly fragile, with disagreements mounting over Netanyahu’s strategy for getting hostages home, the future of Gaza and attempts to recruit more soldiers. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024
Verb
As Türk made his appeal, the death toll and deadly assaults continued to mount as an alliance between two previously warring gangs set its sights on controlling the Cul-de-Sac community north of the capital. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 In November, the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Shan State Progressive Party, two warring groups, signed a cease-fire. Avinash Paliwal, Foreign Affairs, 24 Jan. 2024 The area where the shooting occurred has in the past experienced violence and warring street crews operating in the low-slung, garden-style apartment complexes that contrast with the high-rise condo buildings in the gentrifying area of the ballpark. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2023 When the pair elope, the warring families must work together to find the young Smed and Smoo. William Earl, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023 But bashing celebrities, warring over culture and playing into the fear of cultural marginalization may be too deeply wired into Fox’s sensibility for the network to do otherwise. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2024 The feudal warring over unclaimed Jutland territory may be strictly Danish, but the excitement, romance, and awe-inspiring visual spectacle of this melodrama is vintage Hollywood. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Feb. 2024 The conflict, now the deadliest between the warring sides since Israel's founding in 1948, shows no signs of letting up soon and the brief cease-fire in November that allowed for over 100 hostages to be freed from Gaza remains a distant memory. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 25 Jan. 2024 The Showtime series follows a team of wildly talented high-school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness, chronicling their descent from a complicated but thriving team to warring clans. Diego Ramos Bechara, Variety, 17 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English werre, from Anglo-French werre, guerre, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German werra strife; akin to Old High German werran to confuse

Adverb or adjective

Middle English werre, from Old Norse verri, adjective, verr, adverb; akin to Old English wiersa worse — more at worse

First Known Use

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb Or Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of war was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near war

Cite this Entry

“War.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

war

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a state or period of armed hostile conflict between states, nations, or groups
b
: the science of warfare
2
a
: a state of hostility, antagonism, or conflict
b
: a struggle between opposing forces or for a particular goal
a war on disease

war

2 of 2 verb
warred; warring
1
: to engage in warfare
warring nations
2
: to be in conflict

More from Merriam-Webster on war

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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