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 Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz and Anthony Valencia are qualified for the trials as is Garrett Ryan of Scottsdale, who formerly wrestled at Columbia and now is back in Arizona representing Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials postponed, impacting local wrestlers," 14 Mar. 2020 For a few years, on Valentine’s Day, the couple painstakingly arranged a dozen covers that wrestled with some notion of love — songs by Waylon Jennings and Ann Peebles and local friends who played the same small clubs. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 Deluca was joined at the news conference by Thomas Evashevski, an attorney who wrestled at Michigan from 1972-75, and Andy Hrovat, a wrestler who competed for Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Univ. of Michigan doctor allegedly sexually abused students, including Olympic wrestler," 27 Feb. 2020 Leonardo went on to wrestle at BU under legendary coach Carl Adams, a two-time NCAA champion for Iowa State. Brandon Chase, BostonGlobe.com, "Saturday’s State Coaches Duals offer a reward for teams with great depth," 7 Feb. 2020 Douglas did well in school and wrestled competitively in college, at St. Lawrence University. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Remembering Kirk Douglas, One of the Last Surviving Links to Old Hollywood," 5 Feb. 2020 Two-time state champion in wrestling at 215 pounds. Christopher Kuhagen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Our top 100 high school athletes from 2010-19 in southeast Wisconsin," 10 Dec. 2019 Ingold began wrestling at a young age and was coached early on by his father, Pat Ingold, who won a Wisconsin state title in 1984. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders’ Jon Gruden loves rookie Alec Ingold. Why some Packers fans do, too," 19 Oct. 2019 After beginning his career in Albuquerque, he was hired by Poway Unified School District in 1979 to teach social science plus coach football and wrestling at Mt. Carmel High. Pomerado News, "Rancho Bernardo High to induct its first Hall of Fame class," 2 Oct. 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

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wrestle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrestle. Accessed 1 Apr. 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

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