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)

Other Words from war

Noun

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for war

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb (1)

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pavel Chikov, the head of a human rights group, Agora, which is helping Russians find legal ways to be spared from serving in the war, reported multiple cases in which men above the stated mobilization age of 55 had received summonses. Mary Ilyushina, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Sep. 2022 Biden's recent comments about Taiwan and China's tacit support for the war in Ukraine are just two of the latest irritants in relations between Washington and Beijing. Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2022 Biden's recent comments about Taiwan and China's tacit support for the war in Ukraine are just two of the latest irritants in relations between Washington and Beijing. Matthew Lee, ajc, 23 Sep. 2022 The Millersville resident has long had a special interest in the war, a conflict that took place in part because a young U.S. sought to end Britain’s interference with its sea trade. Jonathan M. Pitts, Baltimore Sun, 23 Sep. 2022 Setting the stage for a turf war that for some would last 40 years. Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 Dmitry Peskov’s job to explain why Russian children must be sacrificed for a war his boss started. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2022 Despite his support for the war, Mr. Girkin has been critical of the Russian campaign in Ukraine. Isabel Coles, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2022 However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to indicate a potential change in tone last week, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, 21 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, sought the court’s permission to take Spears’ deposition as the two sides continue to war over attorneys’ fees and other costs connected to her 13-year conservatorship. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 27 July 2022 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 18 Jan. 2018 See More

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.

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

Learn More About war

Time Traveler for war

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near war

waqf

war

warabi

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Statistics for war

Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“War.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for war

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

More from Merriam-Webster on war

Nglish: Translation of war for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of war for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about war

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