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 these gains might be short-lived, as officials throughout California fear the state will have to wrestle with a new wave of infections stemming from gatherings and travel around Christmas and New Year’s. Los Angeles Times, "Stay-at-home order for much of California extended amid COVID-19 overload at hospitals," 29 Dec. 2020 The ensuing debate has forced the elite institution’s alumni, instructors and families to wrestle with questions of integrity, responsibility and honor — principles at the very heart of West Point’s identity. New York Times, "Backlash Over Leniency at West Point After 73 Cadets Are Accused of Cheating," 23 Dec. 2020 As political leaders wrestle with whether and how to modernize police departments, the Maryland House of Delegates is inching forward with recommendations. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland lawmakers recommend some policing changes, but hold off on toughest proposals," 8 Oct. 2020 Brown’s killer, meanwhile, was never charged because there was substantial evidence that Brown attacked him and tried to wrestle away his gun. Washington Post, "Black America, White violence and generations of unhealed wounds," 4 Dec. 2020 According to prosecutors and court documents, Rittenhouse killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, of Kenosha, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, missing him, and tried to wrestle his rifle away. Michael Tarm, Star Tribune, "Illinois authorities extradite Kyle Rittenhouse to Wisconsin," 30 Oct. 2020 For those who thought of the lyric poem as a reprieve from the humming external world, a chance to wrestle with internal contradictions, Rich’s overt politics felt unlovely, even unpoetic. Maggie Doherty, The New Yorker, "The Long Awakening of Adrienne Rich," 23 Nov. 2020 Nations need to wrestle with questions of fairness and expediency. Washington Post, "Coronavirus vaccines are coming. Who should get them first?," 20 Nov. 2020 Smith smiled when describing Humphrey's ability to wrestle the ball out of a player's grasp. David Ginsburg, Star Tribune, "Sack-happy Ravens tormenting opposing QBs with all-out blitz," 14 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 That’s how fast things have moved in college football the past few days as Power 5 conferences - and their member programs - wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the upcoming college football season. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Paul Finebaum’s winners and losers: ‘Greg Sankey looks like the leader of college football’," 13 Aug. 2020 Efforts to deepen Hardwicke and Blackwood's backstories are also only surface level, as each wrestle with respective personal demons involving an estranged father and lost love. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "'The Hollow Ones' review: Guillermo del Toro's supernatural mystery is eerie but empty," 4 Aug. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wrestle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrestle. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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