A battle is an open struggle, usually between two groups — like a baseball championship game or a food fight.

The word battle is often used in opposition to war, a series of battles. Perhaps you have heard someone tell you, after winning the first of many dance competitions, "You may have won the battle, but you haven’t won the war!" A battle doesn’t have to occur between two individuals or groups. You may endure an inner battle to cut down on junk food. If you skip those fries for lunch today, then you have won a small battle.

Definitions of battle
  1. noun
    a hostile meeting of opposing military forces in the course of a war
    “Grant won a decisive victory in the battle of Chickamauga”
    synonyms: conflict, engagement, fight
    see moresee less
    Battle of Britain
    the prolonged bombardment of British cities by the German Luftwaffe during World War II and the aerial combat that accompanied it
    in 1649 the place was captured by Oliver Cromwell, who massacred the Catholic inhabitants
    show 11 types...
    hide 11 types...
    any catastrophically destructive battle
    pitched battle
    a fierce battle fought in close combat between troops in predetermined positions at a chosen time and place
    naval battle
    a pitched battle between naval fleets
    armed combat, combat
    an engagement fought between two military forces
    an aerial engagement between fighter planes
    close fighting during the culmination of a military attack
    resisting arrest
    physical efforts to oppose a lawful arrest; the resistance is classified as assault and battery upon the person of the police officer attempting to make the arrest
    belligerency, hostilities
    fighting; acts of overt warfare
    trench warfare
    a type of armed combat in which the opposing troops fight from trenches that face each other
    a direct and violent assault on a stronghold
    the act of initiating hostilities
    type of:
    action, military action
    a military engagement
  2. noun
    an open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals)
    synonyms: conflict, struggle
    see moresee less
    show 36 types...
    hide 36 types...
    class struggle, class war, class warfare
    conflict between social or economic classes (especially between the capitalist and proletariat classes)
    insurrection, rebellion, revolt, rising, uprising
    organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another
    counterinsurgency, pacification
    actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency
    bitter conflict; heated often violent dissension
    any hard struggle between equally matched groups
    turf war
    a bitter struggle for territory or power or control or rights
    combat, fight, fighting, scrap
    the act of fighting; any contest or struggle
    a bitter quarrel between two parties
    war, warfare
    an active struggle between competing entities
    a violent clash or conflict
    gunfight, gunplay, shootout
    a fight involving shooting small arms with the intent to kill or frighten
    brush, clash, encounter, skirmish
    a minor short-term fight
    close-quarter fighting
    hand-to-hand fighting at close quarters
    insurgence, insurgency
    an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict
    intifada, intifadah
    an uprising by Palestinian Arabs (in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) against Israel in the late 1980s and again in 2000
    open rebellion against constituted authority (especially by seamen or soldiers against their officers)
    a violent fight between dogs (sometimes organized illegally for entertainment and gambling)
    countercurrent, crosscurrent
    actions counter to the main group activity
    discord, discordance
    strife resulting from a lack of agreement
    the art or sport of fighting with swords (especially the use of foils or epees or sabres to score points under a set of rules)
    faction, in-fighting
    conflict between members of the same organization (usually concealed from outsiders)
    a brief but vigorous fight
    impact, shock
    the violent interaction of individuals or groups entering into combat
    dogfight, hassle, rough-and-tumble, scuffle, tussle
    disorderly fighting
    affaire d'honneur, duel
    a prearranged fight with deadly weapons by two people (accompanied by seconds) in order to settle a quarrel over a point of honor
    fistfight, fisticuffs, slugfest
    a fight with bare fists
    banging, battering
    the act of subjecting to strong attack
    beating, whipping
    the act of overcoming or outdoing
    affray, disturbance, fray, ruffle
    a noisy fight
    brawl, free-for-all
    a noisy fight in a crowd
    cut-and-thrust, knife fight, snickersnee
    fighting with knives
    gang fight, rumble
    a fight between rival gangs of adolescents
    single combat
    a fight between two people
    drug war
    conflict between law enforcement and those who deal in illegal drugs
    trench warfare
    a struggle (usually prolonged) between competing entities in which neither side is able to win
    blood feud, vendetta
    a feud in which members of the opposing parties murder each other
    type of:
    group action
    action taken by a group of people
  3. noun
    an energetic attempt to achieve something
    “he fought a battle for recognition”
    synonyms: struggle
    see moresee less
    any struggle between two skillful opponents (individuals or groups)
    scramble, scuffle
    an unceremonious and disorganized struggle
    joust, tilt
    a combat between two mounted knights tilting against each other with blunted lances
    type of:
    attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour, try
    earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something
  4. verb
    battle or contend against in or as if in a battle
    “they battled over the budget”
    synonyms: combat
    see moresee less
    engage in an aerial battle with another fighter plane
    combat to overcome an opposing tendency or force
    type of:
    contend, fight, struggle
    be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week