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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wrestle


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

Synonyms for wrestle

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The difference between wrestling with rear-wheel steering versus the control of front-wheel steering could be life and death, let alone the record itself. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Bloodhound LSR Is Halfway to Its 1,000-MPH Dream," 8 Nov. 2019 In 2018, Arieh won Illinois’ high school state wrestling championship for his weight class. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Revisiting an American Town Where Black People Weren’t Welcome After Dark," 7 Nov. 2019 And, since the endeavor to wrestle from nature its innermost secrets is a transgression, Faust must accordingly seek the Devil’s help. Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New Yorker, "The Slowness of Literature and the Shadow of Knowledge," 6 Nov. 2019 Hastert was a Yorkville High School teacher and state champion wrestling coach before entering politics in the early 1980s. Christy Gutowski, chicagotribune.com, "Hastert hush-money sex abuse lawsuit trial delayed until spring," 4 Nov. 2019 The siblings always call each other before their respective sporting events and have gone from wrestling each other as bitter rivals growing up to each other’s biggest motivators and supporters. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. making a name for himself, has something to prove at USC," 2 Nov. 2019 Jacobs and Kaiser wrestled on the ground, records said. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "'I feel bad': Man gets home detention, probation in fight that led to shooting of judges," 1 Nov. 2019 Little Santino stole the show, dressed up in a miniature version of his dad’s wrestling singlet — complete with a curly mullet wig. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Mario Lopez's kids (and dog!) dressed up as Saved by the Bell cast for Halloween," 31 Oct. 2019 Embiid appeared to try to gouge Towns’ eye before the two wrestled one another to the ground. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid each suspended two games for fight," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Yet Ms Haspel’s confirmation hearing was less an honest airing of this dilemma than a partisan mud-wrestle. The Economist, "Gina Haspel, alleged water-boarder, could be the next CIA director," 10 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wrestle

Statistics for wrestle

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for wrestle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up wrestle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!