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

grapple, rassle, scuffle, tussle

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Examples of wrestle in a Sentence


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

Mary Kelley, co-owner of 23rd Street Jewelers — where Larry wrestles in the security vestibule with Richard over who gets to buy a bracelet — agrees with that assessment. Nate Rogers, Los Angeles Times, "Want to experience Larry David’s Los Angeles? There’s a tour for that," 10 Sep. 2019 But the case also could represent a harbinger of what's to come given the rise of #metoo, the prevalence of arbitration in corporate America and the way in which federal courts are sometimes wrestling with procedure in First Amendment disputes. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Could the Bizarre Legal Fight Over HBO's Michael Jackson Doc Wind Up at the Supreme Court?," 30 Aug. 2019 The jury in Judge Brandy Hambright’s courtroom was hearing the case a year and a half after an incident at the Saraland Waffle House in which Clemons, 26, was wrestled to the floor by officers after arguing with restaurant staff. Lily Jackson | Ljackson@al.com, al, "Jury splits Waffle House verdict: Not guilty of disorderly conduct but guilty of resisting arrest," 23 Aug. 2019 After wrestling in high school, Calderon first got into boxing shortly after his days at American High in Hialeah. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Miami’s Harold ‘King’ Calderon has come a long way in boxing, enters Friday’s bout 20-0," 25 July 2019 In 2017, Democrats wrestled away control of the town council from Republicans for the first time in years. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Glastonbury Democrats, Republicans set November election slates," 23 July 2019 However, there have been a few instances in which a giant cephalopod has wrestled with divers, including one incident in 2014 off the California coast. Fox News, "Terrifying video shows diver fighting off giant octopus," 18 June 2019 While most Afghan teenagers played soccer or cricket, Masood practiced kushti, an ancient martial art where opponents wrestle each other in a dirt pit. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 Deskovick won the steer wrestling at the Banning Stagecoach Days rodeo. Joe Naiman, Ramona Sentinel, "Matt Deskovick top steer wrestler at Banning rodeo," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 But as tensions between the U.S. and China grow, ASEAN is once again caught in the middle of what could be a damaging arm-wrestle between great powers. Simon Roughneen, latimes.com, "Southeast Asian nations watching China-U.S. trade tiff warily, but reluctant to speak out," 27 Apr. 2018 Their first handshake, a virtual arm-wrestle at an international meeting in Germany last June, produced a globally viral video. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "As Macron arrives to meet Trump, fate of Iran nuclear deal is front and center," 22 Apr. 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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Dictionary Entries near wrestle


wrest block




wrest pin

wrest plank

Statistics for wrestle

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for wrestle

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrestle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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