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

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 That is a deeply disturbing dynamic, on and off screen, and a legacy with which Hollywood and its ambivalently rapt audiences continue to wrestle. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2021 When Gary Gensler’s confirmation hearing takes place today, senators will scrutinize how president Biden’s pick to run the Securities and Exchange Commission would wrestle with the retail trading boom enabled by brokerages like Robinhood. John Detrixhe, Quartz, 2 Mar. 2021 Lawmakers are starting 2021 with pressure to pass a two-year state budget and will likely continue to wrestle with Gov. Mike DeWine on whether to limit his authority to create public health orders. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 5 Jan. 2021 The data add to signs the world’s second-largest economy will struggle to meet Beijing’s growth goals for the year as authorities wrestle with China’s worst Covid-19 outbreak in two years. Jason Douglas, WSJ, 6 Apr. 2022 As both Hollywood and the influencer economy wrestle with questions of diversity and representation, Familia Fuego is the rare project that’s unabashedly, wholeheartedly Latino. Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 My best friend told me that getting into cryptocurrency trading is the new Wild West, a frontier time in the U.S. but also around the world as countries and individuals wrestle with how to manage and regulate cryptocurrencies. Tj Mccue, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 After all, the 18-year-old from Davie watched as her older sister, Brianna, older brother Colin, Jr. and father, Colin, Sr., also wrestle. Gary Curreri, sun-sentinel.com, 8 Dec. 2021 As cities wrestle with how to reform policing to reduce the use of lethal force, Albuquerque has created a new kind of responder on the streets. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At times, like a gunslinger, she is challenged to arm wrestle by those out to prove themselves. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 6 Apr. 2022 Oklahoma’s governor signed similar legislation as states across the country wrestle with the hot-button issue of student-athletes born as males competing in women’s sports based on their gender identity. Andrew Mark Miller, Fox News, 30 Mar. 2022 In their eminently readable new book The Language Game, Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater wrestle with that question. Rebecca Coffey, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 George elected to concede the escape point and wrestle from neutral. cleveland, 12 Mar. 2022 With the heavier weight classes wrestling in a morning session — instead of the usual format of all 14 classes in ascending numerical order — Hayden DeMarco watched his brother wrestle first and then had to wait several hours for his turn. Dave Melton, chicagotribune.com, 19 Feb. 2022 Picture millions of listeners tuning in to listen to this man wrestle, for two or three hours a stretch, with the biggest political, moral and scientific questions of the day. Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2022 Hayes, a Northwestern recruit, returned to wrestle for the first time in over two months at the Class 3A Marist Regional and won the championship at 120 pounds. Steve Millar, chicagotribune.com, 10 Feb. 2022 Every year, when the annual investment planning is under way, the IG Metall trade union and the state government wrestle with management to ensure that the lion’s share of VW’s spending is done at home. William Boston, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wrestle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrestle. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wrestle


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)

More from Merriam-Webster on wrestle

Nglish: Translation of wrestle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wrestle for Arabic Speakers


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