Synonyms & Antonyms of conflict

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 a physical dispute between opposing individuals or groups
  • an armed conflict between strikers and strikebreakers

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3 a state of armed violent struggle between states, nations, or groups
  • the United Nations strives to prevent international conflicts

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4 an earnest effort for superiority or victory over another
  • the eternal conflict between the forces of good and evil

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Synonyms & Antonyms of conflict (Entry 2 of 2)

to be out of harmony or agreement usually noticeably
  • his statement conflicts with the facts, as given in the police report

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Frequently Asked Questions About conflict

How does the noun conflict contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of conflict are contention, discord, dissension, strife, and variance. While all these words mean "a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony," conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires.

the conflict of freedom and responsibility

In what contexts can contention take the place of conflict?

The words contention and conflict are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy.

several points of contention about the new zoning law

When might discord be a better fit than conflict?

Although the words discord and conflict have much in common, discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism.

a political party long racked by discord

When can dissension be used instead of conflict?

The synonyms dissension and conflict are sometimes interchangeable, but dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions.

religious dissension threatened to split the colony

Where would strife be a reasonable alternative to conflict?

In some situations, the words strife and conflict are roughly equivalent. However, strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved.

during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife

When could variance be used to replace conflict?

While in some cases nearly identical to conflict, variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest.

cultural variances that work against a national identity

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The first known use of conflict was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Conflict.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on conflict

Nglish: Translation of conflict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conflict for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conflict


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