wres·​tle | \ ˈre-səl How to pronounce wrestle (audio) , ˈra- How to pronounce wrestle (audio) \
wrestled; wrestling\ ˈre-​sliŋ How to pronounce wrestle (audio) , ˈra-​ ; ˈre-​sᵊl-​iŋ , ˈra-​ \

Definition of wrestle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to contend by grappling with and striving to trip or throw an opponent down or off balance
2 : to combat an opposing tendency or force wrestling with his conscience
3 : to engage in deep thought, consideration, or debate
4 : to engage in or as if in a violent or determined struggle wrestling with cumbersome luggage

transitive verb

1a : to engage in (a match, bout, or fall) in wrestling
b : to wrestle with wrestle an alligator
2 : to move, maneuver, or force with difficulty



Definition of wrestle (Entry 2 of 2)

: the action or an instance of wrestling : struggle especially : a wrestling bout

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Other Words from wrestle


wrestler \ ˈre-​slər How to pronounce wrestle (audio) , ˈra-​ ; ˈre-​sᵊl-​ər , ˈra-​ \ noun

Synonyms for wrestle

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of wrestle in a Sentence

Verb They'll be wrestling each other for the championship. They'll be wrestling with each other for the championship.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But before that, the top of the Angels' lineup smacked three consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth inning off reliever Randy Dobnak to wrestle the lead back from the Twins. Megan Ryan, Star Tribune, "Twins clobbered 10-3 by Angels in opening game of West Coast road trip," 17 Apr. 2021 On the second trip to the capsule, Fessy tries to wrestle CT one-on-one but only succeeds at annoying CT and doesn't get any good looks at the capsule. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: Double Agents recap: Quitters never win," 15 Apr. 2021 McCain broke with the GOP by endorsing Biden’s bid to defeat President Donald Trump, which may have helped Biden wrestle control of Arizona from Republican hands for the first time since Clinton won the state in 1996. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Biden to tap Cindy McCain for coveted ambassador position," 12 Apr. 2021 Tiny chickadees and mice have been known to wrestle these chunky bugs for a quick snack. Jillian Mock, Scientific American, "Brood X Cicadas Could Cause a Bird Baby Boom," 9 Apr. 2021 Prince was notably skeptical of the music industry’s benevolence and, in a prescient move, fought to wrestle back ownership of all of his masters. Brianna Holt, Rolling Stone, "Prince’s Sister on Honoring Her Brother’s Vault of Unreleased Music," 8 Apr. 2021 And despite years of heartbreak for MLS teams, there’s reason to believe one of those five might finally wrestle away the title from Liga MX opposition. Ian Nicholas Quillen, Forbes, "Why Major League Soccer Can Finally Find Concacaf Champions League Success In 2021," 6 Apr. 2021 Carl Phillips, the former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, has often described poetry as a way to wrestle with ambiguity—to attempt to contain it. Carl Phillips, The Atlantic, "As From a Quiver of Arrows," 4 Apr. 2021 Louive used to wrestle for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Cody Goodwin, USA TODAY, "Top U.S. wrestler J'den Cox out of Olympic Trials before tournament starts," 2 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Colts' top wrestle junior Brendan Callison (15-1) earned the 170 title. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, "Southern Arizona teams ready to impact boys wrestling state championships after maskless sectionals," 15 Mar. 2021 As different factions of the group wrestle with what direction the Proud Boys should take, experts said, more extreme members and influences may push the group to double down on its violent roots. Marissa J. Lang, Anchorage Daily News, "As fractures emerge among Proud Boys, experts warn of a shift toward extremist violence," 26 Feb. 2021 As different factions of the group wrestle with what direction the Proud Boys should take, experts said, more extreme members and influences may push the group to double down on its violent roots. Washington Post, "As fractures emerge among Proud Boys, experts warn of a shift toward extremist violence," 26 Feb. 2021 Video shows an officer wrestle McClain to the ground. Chris Boyette, CNN, "Aurora, Colorado, to hire independent police monitor after investigation into Elijah McClain's death," 23 Feb. 2021 For the first phase, the competitors, divided by gender into heats, have to jump in a pit of muddy water, search for an iconic challenge relic (the X-shaped pole from the pole-wrestle elimination), and take it to the finish line outside of the pit. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, "The Challenge: Double Agents Recap: Natural Born Killas," 4 Feb. 2021 That kind of pushback is likely to become more pronounced as states move deeper into the rollout and wrestle with difficult questions about need and short supply. Gillian Flaccus, Star Tribune, "Oregon puts debate over race in vaccine rollout to test," 27 Jan. 2021 Out on the lab’s playground where the students, puppy and undergraduate alike, roll and wrestle and woof and slobber under that Carolina blue sky. Daniel Dorsa, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs," 17 Nov. 2020 As schools across America wrestle with COVID-19, the pandemic has fueled a debate over funding for private and public K-12 schools. David W. Dangerfield, The Conversation, "Pandemic school funding debate in South Carolina rekindles Jim Crow-era controversy," 24 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wrestle.' 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 wrestle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wrestle


Middle English wrastlen, wrestlen, from Old English wrǣstlian, frequentative of wrǣstan

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Time Traveler for wrestle

Time Traveler

The first known use of wrestle was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wrestle

Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wrestle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrestle. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for wrestle



English Language Learners Definition of wrestle

: to fight (someone) by holding and pushing instead of by hitting, kicking, or punching
: to fight in the sport of wrestling
: to struggle to move, deal with, or control something


wres·​tle | \ ˈre-səl How to pronounce wrestle (audio) \
wrestled; wrestling

Kids Definition of wrestle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to fight by grasping and attempting to turn, trip, or throw down an opponent or to prevent the opponent from being able to move
2 : to struggle to deal with He's wrestling with a problem.

Other Words from wrestle

wrestler \ ˈre-​slər \ noun



Kids Definition of wrestle (Entry 2 of 2)

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