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 The rally subsequently stalled over the next 18 months, however, when investors became concerned about a looming U.S.-China trade war and business capital spending faded. Nick Sargen, Forbes, "Are Equity Investors More Keynesian Or Supply Side Oriented?," 9 Apr. 2021 The Easter celebrations offered a respite from the grim realities of war and covid-19 in Syria. Arkansas Online, "Singing hymns through masks, Christians mark pandemic Easter," 4 Apr. 2021 His latest book looks at 1918 Minnesota, when flu, war and fires converged: strib.mn/MN1918. Curt Brown, Star Tribune, "St. Paul gangster's kidnapping trial came to dramatic end," 3 Apr. 2021 Ammiano talks about getting his high school track letter more than 60 years later, his near-death experience teaching in Vietnam during the war and his favorite Dianne Feinstein story. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tom Ammiano once told Schwarzenegger to "Kiss my gay ass." He has no regrets," 3 Apr. 2021 But in times of war and times of pandemic, in times of economic downturn, we're pushed out from being insiders to America to being outsiders of America. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "Olivia Munn, Daniel Dae Kim, Melissa King on the challenges Asian Americans are facing," 31 Mar. 2021 First came the Somalis and Ethiopians fleeing war and poverty. Tim Sullivan, The Christian Science Monitor, "Minneapolis immigrant business owners weigh solidarity, hardship," 29 Mar. 2021 Noah Davis, the Christie's specialist in post war and contemporary art who oversaw the recent auction is also on the show. Fortune, "A look at the growth of non-fungible tokens, from CryptoKitties to Christie’s," 25 Mar. 2021 Their movements were defined by war and displacement, their immigration structured by a system of unequal laws that exploit labor from migrant communities through temporary visas and limited citizenship that invisibilize immigrant work. Genevieve Clutario, Harper's BAZAAR, "It's Time to Reckon with the History of Asian Women in America," 23 Mar. 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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“War.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war. Accessed 11 Apr. 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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