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)
\ ˈwȯr How to pronounce war (audio) \
warred; warring

Definition of war (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

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

war

adverb or adjective
\ 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 war (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for war

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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 However, in 1982 Begin would again take up the ways of war, invading Lebanon to eliminate Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists who had been attacking civilians in northern Israel. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "In Focus: This year’s Boston Israeli Film Festival looks at war and peace," 4 Mar. 2021 While peace activists have an obligation to condemn all bombing as an act of war, they are equally obliged to understand the details of the conflict and what has brought it to the current status. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Saudi Arabia, Iran, gun violence, cancel culture," 3 Mar. 2021 Mean Girls and Bring It On offered a junior version of the same: cutthroat high-school girls for whom short skirts and lipstick were weapons of war. Judy Berman, Time, "From Britney to Buffy, We're Suddenly Rethinking Postfeminist Pop Culture—and Nothing Could Be Healthier," 2 Mar. 2021 Navalny was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok, which was developed as a Soviet weapon of war. Anne Gearan, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. announces sanctions on Russia over poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Navalny," 2 Mar. 2021 This pre-concept-of-war GEM has somehow STILL never been lived in! Isabella Giovannini, The New Yorker, "Zillow Listings for Earth," 2 Mar. 2021 In six years of war, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have led a U.S.-backed coalition in support of the Yemeni government against the Houthis, a Shiite movement known formally as Ansar Allah and armed by Iran. Conor Finnegan, ABC News, "Biden's effort to end Yemen war hindered by continued fighting, funding shortfall," 2 Mar. 2021 The attack 13 months ago came in response to the U.S. drone attack that killed Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful general, and brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Trump says he told the Pentagon 10,000 National Guard troops would be needed Jan. 6 but was ignored," 2 Mar. 2021 Soon after, Baron delivered a response to Trump’s declaration of war. Washington Post, "Marty Baron, Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump and the eight years that reshaped The Washington Post — and journalism," 28 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The dour news arrived as Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to war over the size and scope of the next coronavirus relief package. Tony Romm, BostonGlobe.com, "US hiring slowed dramatically in July as coronavirus cases surged, ADP report says," 5 Aug. 2020 The dour news arrived as Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to war over the size and scope of the next coronavirus relief package. Washington Post, "U.S. hiring slowed dramatically in July as coronavirus cases surged, ADP report says," 5 Aug. 2020 Selah takes on a protégée, Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), a new student and amateur photographer who has yet to be claimed by one of the school’s warring factions. Teo Bugbee, New York Times, "‘Selah and the Spades’ Review: This Isn’t Your Average Teen Drama," 16 Apr. 2020 Egypt, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are all involved, supplying variously troops, fighters, and military equipment to the warring factions. Lorne Cook, BostonGlobe.com, "EU launches new naval mission to police Libya arms embargo," 31 Mar. 2020 As the virus outbreak — and Israel’s response to it — swelled frighteningly in recent days, the warring factions have softened their rhetoric and embraced, tentatively, the possibility of coming together in an emergency coalition. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Coronavirus offers possible political thaw in Israel," 13 Mar. 2020 The timing of the pandemic couldn’t be worse for Mexico, especially in this downtrodden city, which has long been marred by drug violence carried out by warring criminal organizations. Dallas News, "Drug crime is thriving in Mexico, and many fear coronavirus will make it worse," 9 Apr. 2020 Nothing in your letter suggests a dire backdrop, but many young people are cut off by their parents for warring over hot topics such as religion or sexuality. Philip Galanes, New York Times, "Mom, I Love You, but I Can’t Keep Going to Church," 18 Jan. 2018 Anthony Breznican ✔ @Breznican Sharon Duncan-Brewster is Dr. Liet Kynes, lead ecologist of Arrakis and a power broker amid the warring factions. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Needs more Zendaya: We have our first look at the new Dune film," 14 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for war

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for war

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“War.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on war

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