war·​fare ˈwȯr-ˌfer How to pronounce warfare (audio)
: military operations between enemies : hostilities, war
also : an activity undertaken by a political unit (such as a nation) to weaken or destroy another
economic warfare
: struggle between competing entities : conflict

see also biological warfare, chemical warfare, cyber warfare, germ warfare, psychological warfare, trench warfare

Examples of warfare in a Sentence

that troubled household seems to be almost constantly in a state of warfare companies engaged in constant warfare for dominance in the market for smart phones and tablets
Recent Examples on the Web Freedman, a longtime attorney for the Utility Reform Network, is right about the trench warfare. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2024 Better to outsource rote paperwork than to descend into nuclear warfare. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for warfare 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'warfare.' 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, from werre, warre war + fare journey, passage — more at fare

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of warfare was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near warfare

Cite this Entry

“Warfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warfare. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


war·​fare ˈwȯr-ˌfa(ə)r How to pronounce warfare (audio)
: military fighting between enemies : war
: activity undertaken by one country or group to weaken or destroy another
economic warfare
: a struggle between competitors : conflict
industrial warfare

More from Merriam-Webster on warfare

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