strug·​gle | \ ˈstrə-gəl How to pronounce struggle (audio) \
struggled; struggling\ ˈstrə-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce struggle (audio) \

Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition struggling with the problem
2 : to proceed with difficulty or with great effort struggled through the high grass struggling to make a living



Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : contest, strife armed struggle a power struggle
2 : a violent effort or exertion : an act of strongly motivated striving a struggle to make ends meet
3 : tussle sense 1 during the struggle the gun went off

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from struggle


struggler \ ˈstrə-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce struggle (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for struggle

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of struggle in a Sentence

Verb He has been struggling with the problem of how to keep good workers from leaving. They struggled for the right to vote. She struggled up the hill through the snow. She struggled to lift the package by herself, but it was too heavy. He struggled to get free of the wreckage. He's been struggling in math class for most of the year. The team has continued to struggle in recent weeks. He was living as a struggling artist in the city. Noun the struggle for civil rights There was a struggle for the gun. There was no sign of a struggle. It was a struggle getting out of bed this morning.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All the guys in the middle are going to struggle with the cost of goods. Lindsey Bartlett, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 His successor, whoever that is, is going to struggle with having that same kind of heft to them. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Oct. 2021 The poor and people of color are going to struggle far more with climate change. Matt Simon, Wired, 7 Oct. 2021 In the vacuum left by his dark-star charisma, the other Roys struggle to find their place. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 4 Oct. 2021 The offensive line as a whole continued to struggle. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Oct. 2021 However, outside of a few masochists, even big-time bettors are going to struggle to peel their eyes away from the Rebels and Tide on Saturday. Christopher Smith, al, 27 Sep. 2021 Finding those windows isn't easy when defenses drop eight in coverage, and Cunningham did struggle to go through his progressions early, but settled in later. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, 8 Sep. 2021 Just yesterday, one of my friends lost both of her jobs and is now going to struggle to pay her rent and for food. Devon Abelman, Allure, 11 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun He was released on bond and, according to his attorneys, remains in a drug rehab program after professing to a 20-year struggle with opioid addiction. Pamela Kirkland, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 But there is also opportunity to compare big political moments, from the presidency to the struggle over voting rights to war, between the decades. Danielle Turchiano, Variety, 22 Sep. 2021 This victim’s death, like the rest, would lead to a bitter legal struggle once the forces of law identified a likely perpetrator. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, 2 Sep. 2021 King, 77, was able to relate to the rising star's struggle, having been forced out of the closet during her own professional career. Glenn Garner,, 29 Aug. 2021 It’s not about the children) and what their relationship is to the present-day struggle for Native rights. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 27 Aug. 2021 Apart from Brainard, economists and others close to the Fed struggle to put other names forward., 23 Aug. 2021 That led to a struggle that ended when Sheskey fired seven bullets into Blake, who was carrying a knife but had his back turned. John Keilman,, 20 Aug. 2021 Warren County Public Schools, Kentucky's fourth largest district, said a shortage of drivers only adds to the struggle of keeping schools open while having more than 1,700 kids in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, 19 Aug. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of struggle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for struggle


Middle English struglen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About struggle

Time Traveler for struggle

Time Traveler

The first known use of struggle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near struggle



struggle for existence

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for struggle

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Struggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for struggle



English Language Learners Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try very hard to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems
: to move with difficulty or with great effort
: to try to move yourself, an object, etc., by making a lot of effort



English Language Learners Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long effort to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems
: a physical fight between usually two people
: something that is difficult to do or achieve


strug·​gle | \ ˈstrə-gəl How to pronounce struggle (audio) \
struggled; struggling

Kids Definition of struggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a great effort to do or achieve something or to overcome someone or something I struggled with the burglar. We're struggling with money problems.
2 : to move with difficulty or with great effort A woman struggled through the snow.



Kids Definition of struggle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a difficult or violent effort Though it was a struggle to lift my eyes, I did so.— Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead

More from Merriam-Webster on struggle

Nglish: Translation of struggle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of struggle for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!