war

noun, often attributive
\ ˈwȯr How to pronounce war (audio) \

Definition of war

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations
(2) : a period of such armed conflict
(3) : state of war
b : the art or science of warfare
c(1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war
(2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2a : 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

war

verb (1)
warred; warring

Definition of war (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to be in active or vigorous conflict
2 : to engage in warfare
\ ˈwär How to pronounce war (audio) \

Definition of war (Entry 3 of 4)

chiefly Scotland
: worse

war

verb (2)
\ ˈwär How to pronounce war (audio) \
warred; warring

Definition of war (Entry 4 of 4)

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Other Words from war

Noun

warless \ ˈwȯr-​ləs How to pronounce warless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for war

Synonyms: Noun

conflagration, conflict, hostilities, hot war

Antonyms: Noun

peace

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are men who have gone through war, struggle with alcoholism, and love their families unconditionally. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Milo Ventimiglia: Jack Pearson Is Great, But He's Not Me," 19 Mar. 2019 All is fair in love, war—and the Blind Auditions, apparently! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coaches Are Getting Serious Heat for How They're Treating John Legend," 26 Feb. 2019 The Taliban have been negotiating with the U.S. to end America’s longest war, which has cost it more than $1 trillion. Kathy Gannon, The Seattle Times, "Powerful political leader warns against squandering peace," 20 Feb. 2019 Designed in 1962 at the height of Italy’s post-war design renaissance, the Arco Floor Lamp was just one of 150 or so practical everyday objects designed by Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Arco Floor Lamp Is the Perfect Solution for Rooms Without Overhead Lighting," 5 Feb. 2019 The war there, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has by some estimates claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 people. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 2018 The stories range from interstellar wars, messages from a long-dead human race, as well as AI, robotics, and cybernetics. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 While men were off at war, women dealt with food shortages and a government who wouldn’t listen to them. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Why International Women's Day Is Celebrated on March 8," 28 Feb. 2019 Sarah also gets a significant amount of say in what goes on in Anne’s domain, making decisions like whether the nation should go to war and how the palace is run. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is The Favourite Movie About? It's a Rom-Com of a Sort," 23 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These civil wars can be ugly, angry, costly affairs, breaking carefully built organizations into warring camps, tearing apart colleagues and coalitions. Elaine Weiss, Time, "Women's Movements Are Facing Internal Divisions. History Shows That's Not Necessarily a Bad Thing," 6 Mar. 2018 At that point, Mr. Trump and Mr. Schneiderman were warring over Trump University in a legal battle bitter enough that Mr. Trump eventually filed a complaint against Mr. Schneiderman with New York State’s ethics watchdog agency. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Lawyer for 2 Schneiderman Accusers Brought Their Claims to Michael Cohen," 11 May 2018 There’s Tiffany and Ivanka Trump, Johnny Marr and Morrissey, and Lucinda Williams and Dar Williams (reimagined as warring cousins with radically different views of songwriting). Sally Singer, Vogue, "With Slash, a Fetish for Pop Culture Leads to the Stage," 8 Jan. 2019 Wilderness Safaris’ Linkwasha is the epitome of safari luxury, and it’s in the best game area of the park: warring lion prides, packs of wild dogs, cheetahs, and herds of elephant and buffalo everywhere. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018 The cease-fire between the warring sides in Yemen was announced before the vote, a result of the first direct talks between the sides in two years. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Yemen Foes Agree on Cease-Fire Amid U.S. Pressure," 13 Dec. 2018 Extra police and troops were sent in after warring drug gangs increased killings in the state in 2017. Mark Stevenson, The Seattle Times, "Mexico sees 16 percent rise in murders in 1st half of 2018," 23 July 2018 The sides are currently warring over whether two top law firms -- Gibson Dunn and David Wright Tremaine -- have to hand over documents being claimed as privileged. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Al Jazeera Says Peyton Manning Was "Source" Confirming Doping Claims in Film," 1 June 2018 In 2008, Lebanon’s warring factions met in Qatar and brought about an end to a political stalemate, paving the way for presidential elections. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "Qatar Muscles in on Saudi Arabia With Lebanon Investment," 21 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'war.' 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 war

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

History and Etymology for war

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

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Statistics for war

Last Updated

24 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for war

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

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More Definitions for war

war

noun

English Language Learners Definition of war

: a state or period of fighting between countries or groups
: a situation in which people or groups compete with or fight against each other
: an organized effort by a government or other large organization to stop or defeat something that is viewed as dangerous or bad

war

noun
\ ˈwȯr How to pronounce war (audio) \

Kids Definition of war

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a state or period of fighting between states or nations
2 : a struggle between opposing forces or for a particular end the war on poverty

war

verb
warred; warring

Kids Definition of war (Entry 2 of 2)

: to engage in a series of battles

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More from Merriam-Webster on war

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with war

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for war

Spanish Central: Translation of war

Nglish: Translation of war for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of war for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about war

Comments on war

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