war

noun, often attributive
\ ˈwȯr \

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

c : variance, odds sense 3

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 \

Definition of war (Entry 3 of 4)

chiefly Scotland

: worse

war

verb (2)
\ ˈwär \
warred; warring

Definition of war (Entry 4 of 4)

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Other words from war

Noun

warless \ˈwȯr-ləs \ adjective

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

That was in the autumn of 2014: war was raging in eastern Ukraine, the Group of 20 was meeting in Australia, and the Russian president faced a frosty reception from Western leaders. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 But like democracy itself, that means fighting a war with one hand tied behind your back. Film Crit Hulk, The Verge, "Don’t feed the trolls, and other hideous lies," 12 July 2018 Leave No Trace offers a stark commentary on homelessness and the terrible human cost of America's wars. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Leave No Trace approaches homelessness on the most intimate terms," 11 July 2018 Carly Mask When the history of the great micromobility wars of 2018 is written, readers will quickly notice a cycle repeating itself. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How cities should regulate the scooter surge," 11 July 2018 From this time on, war is not an option for the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Elias Meseret, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ethiopia and Eritrea unite after ending 20-year border war," 9 July 2018 The Federal Reserve is picking up signs that the trade war is causing businesses to rethink investment plans. Author: Paul Wiseman, Josh Boakap, Anchorage Daily News, "US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy," 7 July 2018 The looming trade war is contributing to this concern. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Is a flattening yield curve a sign of a coming recession?," 6 July 2018 On Thursday, Prince William headed to Scotland to attend a war memorial service, meet with entrepreneurs, and give out several royal medals. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan All Have Different Titles in Scotland," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But some parts of the legislation have been proposed before in separate bills, most of which collapsed from disputes among warring factions of the music industry. Ben Sisario, New York Times, "New Way to Pay Songwriters and Musicians in the Streaming Age Advances," 28 June 2018 Wary observers inside and outside South Sudan, including the warring sides, had approached the latest cease-fire with cautious optimism at best. Washington Post, "South Sudan’s latest cease-fire is violated within hours," 30 June 2018 The former school trustee had warred with other school board members and administrators, and was subject to a restraining order by Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Judge reduces felony conviction for former Escondido school trustee," 15 June 2018 The ancient city had seen its fair share of violent history over the centuries as warring Scots and English families had clashed. Smithsonian, "How Dodge City Became a Symbol of Frontier Lawlessness," 23 Jan. 2018 Last month, the House soundly defeated an immigration bill that Republican leaders had hoped would unite warring factions within their party. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Rep. Brooks 'overwhelmed' by the large numbers of migrant children crossing the border," 12 July 2018 Wary observers inside and outside the country, including the warring sides, have approached the latest cease-fire with cautious optimism at best. Sam Mednick, Fox News, "South Sudan's latest cease-fire is violated within hours," 30 June 2018 The House soundly defeated a compromise immigration bill Wednesday that Republican leaders had hoped would unite warring factions within their party to fund President Trump's border wall and dramatically decrease legal immigration. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "House defeats latest immigration bill, turns focus to keeping families together at border," 27 June 2018 The province’s constantly warring tribes joined the fray. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "Basra was once a jewel of a city. Now it's a symbol what's wrong in Iraq," 17 June 2018

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

22 Sep 2018

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 \

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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