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 Democrats were too afraid to wrestle with him in the mud. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Spectacular Fall of the Lincoln Project," 12 Feb. 2021 Other ideas for a potential spring season include holding meets outdoors and allowing spring athletes who also wrestle to participate in both sports. Brandon Chase, BostonGlobe.com, "So far it’s been a lost season for high school wrestlers," 6 Feb. 2021 Throughout the pandemic, officers have often been on the other side of citizens’ threats to infect them with the virus, forcing prosecutors to wrestle with whether intentionally coughing on a law-enforcement officer is a crime. Washington Post, "Officer fired for physically harassing a co-worker, mocking her fear of covid-19, police say," 6 Feb. 2021 Smith and other Minnesotans expect to wrestle in a Greco-Roman club tournament planned for February, and there could be another European tournament in March. Rachel Blount, Star Tribune, "In COVID-19 era, former Gophers wrestler Pat Smith juggles need for competition and compliance," 14 Jan. 2021 As the sole Mirabal sister who survived Trujillo’s regime, Dedé was left to wrestle with her guilt and find meaning in being alive. Gavin Edwards, New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Dedé Mirabal, Who Carried the Torch of Her Slain Sisters," 13 Jan. 2021 More than a century after Lizzie Borden went on trial for murder, a jury of eight people have been asked to wrestle with many of the same questions. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, ""Lizzie Borden took an axe" — or did she? What would a jury say today?," 26 Dec. 2020 Thompson had come to Waterloo to wrestle at the University of Northern Iowa in nearby Cedar Falls. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, "As COVID-19 Ravaged This Iowa City, Officials Discovered Meatpacking Executives Were the Ones in Charge," 21 Dec. 2020 That quote alone illustrates the lack of identity this youth-laden roster continues to wrestle with early on, as the pathway back to .500 is steep heading into a non-conference game against UCLA and then their SEC slate. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "College basketball Misery Index: Will Kentucky miss the NCAA tournament?," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Diplomacy might have been particularly urgent this year, as the world's nations wrestle with major differences on issues from climate change to the Middle East. Richard Roth, CNN, "What to expect at the UN General Assembly in the time of Covid-19," 20 Sep. 2020 Parents across the nation wrestle with two difficult options this fall: send children back to school and risk exposure to COVID-19, or keep them home and risk academic and social setbacks. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Jared Kushner says he and Ivanka Trump 'absolutely' sending their kids back to school and have 'no fear in doing so'," 17 Aug. 2020 The playful furballs roll down hills, juggle pebbles, wrestle, frolic in the water and even build themselves slides along the banks of rivers. Cheryl Conley, Houston Chronicle, "River otters can be seen in Houston-region waterways," 24 Aug. 2020 So let Beth and Brittany mud-wrestle for control of the franchise. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: In America’s 2020, Kareem Jackson knows a real hero can no longer just stick to sports — and neither can we," 2 June 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

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

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