conflict

1 of 2

noun

con·​flict ˈkän-ˌflikt How to pronounce conflict (audio)
1
: fight, battle, war
an armed conflict
2
a
: competitive or opposing action of incompatibles : antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons)
a conflict of principles
b
: mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands
His conscience was in conflict with his duty.
3
: the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction
The conflict in the play is between the king and the archbishop.
conflictful adjective
conflictual
kän-ˈflik-chə-wəl How to pronounce conflict (audio)
kən-
-chəl
-shwəl
-chü-əl
adjective

conflict

2 of 2

verb

con·​flict kən-ˈflikt How to pronounce conflict (audio)
ˈkän-ˌflikt
conflicted; conflicting; conflicts

intransitive verb

1
: to be different, opposed, or contradictory : to fail to be in agreement or accord
His statement conflicts with the facts.
2
archaic : to contend in warfare
confliction noun
conflictive
kən-ˈflik-tiv How to pronounce conflict (audio)
ˈkän-ˌflik-
adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for conflict

discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony.

discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism.

a political party long racked by discord

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

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

contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy.

several points of contention about the new zoning law

dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions.

religious dissension threatened to split the colony

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

Example Sentences

Noun In great wars—the American Civil War, the First and Second World Wars—the largest casualties are suffered just before the conflicts end. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2009 At a moment when the country was still in the throes of the conflict over Vietnam, it was refreshing to see the best of America. Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 … for work-family conflicts to disappear, two rock-ribbed institutions must change: the whole concept of children's care, and the way the workplace works. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Family Politics, 1983 The basic conflict in the novel is, of course, between the life on the river, where Huck finds innocence, brotherhood with man, and communion with nature, and life ashore, where, stage by stage, he discovers the corruption of society … Robert Penn Warren, Democracy and Poetry, (1975) 1976 a conflict between two gangs recent violent conflict in the region Everyone in my family always tries to avoid conflict. There was inevitable conflict over what to name the group. They're having serious conflicts over the budget. I don't see any conflicts between the theories. You'll need to resolve the conflict between your parents' plans for you and your own ambitions. Verb Mr. van Wolferen says the U.S. must do more: It has to openly explain to Japan that it wants a managed-trade deal in order to end the bickering between the two nations, a move that would conflict with America's free-trade rhetoric. David P. Hamilton, Wall Street Journal, 8 June 1995 The expectations about motherhood as full-time job that this situation created conflicted with the philosophy of the women's movement of the l960's. Anita Shreve, New York Times Magazine, 2l Nov. 1982 Lily smiled faintly at the injunction to take her tea strong. It was the temptation she was always struggling to resist. Her craving for the keen stimulant was forever conflicting with that other craving for sleep … Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, 1905 Reports conflicted on how many people were involved. his statement conflicts with the facts, as given in the police report See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
That assessment is supported by multiple international efforts to document war crimes and other atrocities committed in the course of the conflict. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 22 Nov. 2022 That would undermine recent efforts by Mr. Tshisekedi to end decades of conflict in the region by mending relations with neighboring states and working closely with a 12,000-strong U.N. force. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 During more than eight months of Russian occupation, an underground resistance movement formed in Kherson, the lone regional capital that the Russian military was able to capture in the opening days of the conflict last February. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2022 Then there is France’s history of conflict, marked by the six-year exclusion of Karim Benzema, the reigning Golden Ball winner. Frank Dell'apa, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Nov. 2022 Yu believes in the potential for business to help stabilize Afghanistan after decades of conflict. Nabih Bulosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Tuesday’s fatal attacks bring the number of people killed on the Israeli side of the conflict with the Palestinians to 28 this year. Michael Schwartz, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 In Washington, those moves have heightened calls for the United States to pledge military support for Taiwan in the event of a conflict. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 Around 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured since the start of the conflict, according to estimates cited by BBC. Jason Hahn, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2022
Verb
Life is too short and conflict over minor situations can be too long. Dr. June Hall, cleveland, 21 Nov. 2022 The dispute is the latest example of how the push to develop clean energy sources such as solar and wind power to meet the state’s clean energy goals can conflict with existing land usage. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 The global warming impact of the projects, many of which won’t come online for years, would be immense and would directly conflict with the ambitious short-term emissions goals Europe and the United States only recently set for themselves. Evan Halper, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2022 Judge Leinenweber repeatedly rejected requests from Kelly's defense team that he be tried alone because his and McDavid's interests would conflict at a joint trial. CBS News, 10 Sep. 2022 Judge Harry Leinenweber has repeatedly rejected requests from Kelly’s defense team that he be tried alone because his and McDavid's interests would conflict at a joint trial. Michael Tarm, ajc, 9 Sep. 2022 There’s currently no federal statute, regulation, or rule that absolutely prohibits a Member or House employee from holding assets that might conflict with or influence the performance of official duties. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 13 Oct. 2022 The success of this purely geometric formulation of particle physics raises the possibility of a fresh perspective on reality, one free from the cherished principles that currently conflict. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 26 Sep. 2022 Employers should also accommodate workers with disabilities, medical conditions or religious beliefs that conflict with the policy. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conflict.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English conflicte, conflyte "battle, struggle, assault," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French conflykte, conflict, borrowed from Latin conflīctus "striking together, clash," from conflīgere "to strike together, bring into collision, do battle, contend" (from con- con- + flīgere "to strike, dash down") + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at profligate entry 1

Verb

Middle English conflicten "to engage in battle, fight," borrowed from Latin conflīctus, past participle of conflīgere "to strike together, bring into collision, do battle, contend" — more at conflict entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near conflict

Cite this Entry

“Conflict.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conflict. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

conflict 1 of 2

noun

con·​flict ˈkän-ˌflikt How to pronounce conflict (audio)
1
: an extended struggle : fight, battle
2
a
: a clashing or sharp disagreement (as between ideas, interests, or purposes)
b
: mental struggle resulting from needs, drives, wishes, or demands that are in opposition or are not compatible

conflict

2 of 2

verb

con·​flict kən-ˈflikt How to pronounce conflict (audio)
ˈkän-ˌflikt
: to be in opposition : clash
duty and desire often conflict

Medical Definition

conflict

noun

con·​flict ˈkän-ˌflikt How to pronounce conflict (audio)
: mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands
conflictful adjective
conflictless adjective
conflictual adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on conflict

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