war·​fare | \ ˈwȯr-ˌfer How to pronounce warfare (audio) \

Definition of warfare

1 : 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
2 : struggle between competing entities : conflict

Keep scrolling for more

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 home computers
Recent Examples on the Web Alexander’s death four years later, most likely from illness, led to the breakup of this realm and decades of warfare as his generals fought for control. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Philip and Alexander’ Review: A Conqueror’s Patrimony," 9 Oct. 2020 This movie, directed by Oz Rodriguez (Saturday Night Live), takes all the '80s kid monster movie tropes and subverts them into a cautionary tale of class warfare. Kathleen Newman-bremang, refinery29.com, "This Wholesome Netflix Horror Comedy Is Exactly What This Halloween Season Needs," 5 Oct. 2020 Many Biden supporters expressed the hope that Mr. Trump and his ardent base would stop turning health experts’ guidance into cause for partisan warfare. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, "The President’s Illness Is Yet Another Dividing Line in the Trump Era," 3 Oct. 2020 The Office of the State Fire Marshal bomb squad deals with many strange, dangerous objects in the regular course of a day, but finding a cannonball designed for naval warfare in Bel Air was a bit odd, even for their work. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Cannonball possibly dating back to 1800s and designed for naval warfare found in Bel Air," 23 Sep. 2020 Emerging from United States Air Force planes, four-legged robot dogs scampered onto an an airfield in the Mojave Desert, offering a possible preview into the future of warfare. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Robot dogs join US Air Force exercise giving glimpse at potential battlefield of the future," 9 Sep. 2020 The government has requested military assistance and the Royal Air Force has been patrolling the channel with a new plane designed for anti-submarine warfare, The Associated Press reported. Fox News, "Calais mayor accuses Britain of 'declaration of maritime war' for migrant crackdown," 13 Aug. 2020 The Royal Air Force in recent days has been patrolling the English Channel with a new plane designed for anti-submarine warfare. Sylvia Hui, Star Tribune, "Migrants cross English Channel to UK for 10th day in a row," 13 Aug. 2020 That means Hunter could become the first high-performance combat drone designed for large-scale conventional warfare to enter service with any country. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's 'Hunter' Is Unlike Anything in America's Arsenal," 10 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'warfare.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of warfare

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for warfare

Middle English, from werre, warre war + fare journey, passage — more at fare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about warfare

Time Traveler for warfare

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for warfare

Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Warfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warfare. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for warfare


How to pronounce warfare (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of warfare

: military fighting in a war
: activity that is done as part of a struggle between competing groups, companies, etc.


war·​fare | \ ˈwȯr-ˌfer How to pronounce warfare (audio) \

Kids Definition of warfare

1 : military fighting between enemies
2 : conflict between opposing forces or for a particular end

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on warfare

What made you want to look up warfare? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!