wres·​tle | \ ˈre-səl How to pronounce wrestle (audio) , ˈra- How to pronounce wrestle (audio) \
wrestled; wrestling\ ˈres-​liŋ How to pronounce wrestling (audio) , ˈras-​ ; 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 wrestler (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 Momir Petkovic comes to Floyd Central wrestling practice a few times a week. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Floyd Central brothers apply lessons learned from Olympic gold medalist grandfather," 17 Jan. 2020 Elizabeth Warren, just to the right of Sanders on policy, does better with more affluent voters but is thought to be too progressive for some and is wrestling with the aforementioned worries about gender. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "“Electability” Is a Poisonous Political Shibboleth," 17 Jan. 2020 Several videos circulating on Twitter appeared to show a group of people wrestling a man to the ground, before two armed police shot one of the men. Billy Perrigo, Time, "Man Shot By U.K. Police After Stabbing Incident Near London Bridge," 29 Nov. 2019 Madda, 67, a local youth baseball, football and wrestling coach and talented cement finisher, suffered a stroke Sept. 9, his fourth since since September 2014. cleveland, "Families of recent Mayfield Heights stroke victims Rosemarie Tutolo, Phil Madda holding fundraisers," 29 Oct. 2019 Doug Peters, who led the Rams to multiple Seminole Athletic Conference, district and regional championships as wrestling head coach, was also the head football and golf coach before becoming Lake Mary’s athletic director. Mike Gramajo, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake Mary High to roll out first Hall of Fame class," 8 Oct. 2019 Youth wrestling Lowe and Sego were both heavily involved in youth wrestling programs connected to the Center Grove Community School Corporation. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "What we know about the Michigan plane crash that killed 5 Hoosiers," 3 Oct. 2019 Kids wrestled in a room outdoors, where laundry hung on ropes over bare mats for sleeping. Silvia Foster-frau, ExpressNews.com, "Gangs profit from Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy," 29 Sep. 2019 The great compromises wrestled out by Henry Clay and others gave deference to state sovereignty — too much deference, according to some — while also trying to keep the country together as a whole. Fred Bauer, National Review, "What the Nationalism vs. Liberalism Debate Misses," 28 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Solis competed in a wrestle-off with fellow Barons freshman Kade Ayres for the right to wrestle in CIF at 106 pounds and won. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Daily Pilot Wrestling Dream Team: Fountain Valley’s Max Wilner has handled success well," 28 June 2019 Bloom argued that creativity was not a grateful bow to the past, but a Freudian wrestle in which artists denied and distorted their literary ancestors while producing work that revealed an unmistakable debt. Hillel Italie, Los Angeles Times, "Harold Bloom, author of ‘Anxiety of Influence,’ dies at 89," 14 Oct. 2019 Bloom argued that creativity was not a grateful bow to the past, but a Freudian wrestle in which artists denied and distorted their literary ancestors while producing work that revealed an unmistakable debt. Hillel Italie, chicagotribune.com, "Harold Bloom, author of ‘Anxiety of Influence,’ dies at 89," 14 Oct. 2019 Cruz, the couple’s adorable shaggy dog, gets a fair share of screen time as well, as the couple wrestles with the decision of whether the time is right to enlarge their little family. Vincent Boucher, The Hollywood Reporter, "Stylist Jason Bolden, Interior Designer Adair Curtis Talk Starring in Netflix's 'Styling Hollywood'," 30 Aug. 2019 Mitsotakis steps out of his car and switches into casual campaigning mode, crouching to chat to children, greeting young men with an arm-wrestle handshake, hugging pensioners, and using his height to snap cellphone photos. Washington Post, "Greek election front runner keeps campaign unusually low-key," 5 July 2019 Okada has delivered a string of matches that is otherworldly, but in terms of watching one of these three wrestle every week, there is no better talent (AJ Styles aside) than Rollins. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "The Week in Wrestling: WWE Still a Big Part of John Cena’s Future Plans," 12 June 2019 The move comes as L’Oreal wrestles with sluggish growth in its consumer products division, whose drugstore brands have underperformed the units selling high-end perfumes and premium skin care. Robert Williams, Fortune, "L'Oreal Taps its First Female President for the World's Biggest Beauty Brand," 20 June 2019 In a sneak peek at Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas, the 34-year-old wrestles with an important question: Who should walk her down the aisle? Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Nikki Bella Questions Who Should Walk Her Down the Aisle in Wedding to John Cena," 22 June 2018

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wrestle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrestle. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for wrestle


How to pronounce wrestle (audio) How to pronounce wrestle (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on wrestle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wrestle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrestle

Spanish Central: Translation of wrestle

Nglish: Translation of wrestle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wrestle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wrestle

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showing steady, earnest care and effort

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