war·​fare | \ ˈwȯr-ˌfer How to pronounce warfare (audio) \

Definition of warfare

1 : military operations between enemies : hostilities, war also : an activity undertaken by a political unit (such as a nation) to weaken or destroy another economic warfare
2 : struggle between competing entities : conflict

Examples of warfare in a Sentence

that troubled household seems to be almost constantly in a state of warfare companies engaged in constant warfare for dominance in the market for home computers
Recent Examples on the Web Remember that the Soviets’ expensive Afghan war was a significant factor behind its collapse, and presumably Putin would be reluctant to repeat that, although the Ukrainian terrain is not as favorable for guerilla warfare. Michael Lynch, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 Other causes for verbal warfare include annoying extended family members, money, and people taking holiday games too seriously. Garfield Hylton, orlandosentinel.com, 21 Dec. 2021 Construction cranes are helping build training areas for urban warfare and live-weapons firing behind a perimeter topped with razor wire. WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 Wisconsin Democrats saw the tactic as class warfare. Melanie Mason Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2021 The head of the Manhattan Project wanted no depiction of atom bombs as uniquely terrible, no public discussion of what became known as radiological warfare. New York Times, 9 Aug. 2021 The result was the only unbroken code in modern warfare. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, 12 Nov. 2021 Sad, because the brutal targeting of doctors and nurses has become a familiar fact of modern warfare, and necessary, because our civilization depends on a willingness to bear witness to our moral failures. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2021 August reminds us to pause and think about our addiction to modern warfare, more predictable than inflation. Doris Bittar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'warfare.' 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 warfare

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for warfare

Middle English, from werre, warre war + fare journey, passage — more at fare

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Time Traveler for warfare

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

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Statistics for warfare

Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Warfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warfare. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for warfare



English Language Learners Definition of warfare

: military fighting in a war
: activity that is done as part of a struggle between competing groups, companies, etc.


war·​fare | \ ˈwȯr-ˌfer How to pronounce warfare (audio) \

Kids Definition of warfare

1 : military fighting between enemies
2 : conflict between opposing forces or for a particular end

More from Merriam-Webster on warfare

Nglish: Translation of warfare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of warfare for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about warfare


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