Other forms: struggling; struggled; struggles

Something that can only be accomplished with great effort is said to be a struggle. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader in the Civil Rights struggle. Alice Paul was a leader in the struggle for a woman's right to vote.

The verb form of struggle can be used for physical or mental effort. A police officer might struggle trying to detain a criminal or a student may struggle with a difficult algebra problem. If you scramble and climb awkwardly up something, you can also use the verb struggle to describe the action: "They struggled up the icy hill over and over again, so they could keep sledding."

Definitions of struggle
  1. noun
    strenuous effort
    “the struggle to get through the crowd exhausted her”
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    grapple, grappling, hand-to-hand struggle, wrestle, wrestling
    the act of engaging in close hand-to-hand combat
    type of:
    effort, elbow grease, exertion, sweat, travail
    use of physical or mental energy; hard work
  2. noun
    an energetic attempt to achieve something
    “getting through the crowd was a real struggle
    synonyms: battle
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    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
  3. noun
    an open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals)
    synonyms: battle, conflict
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    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
  4. verb
    make a strenuous or labored effort
    “She struggled for years to survive without welfare”
    synonyms: fight
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    drive, labor, labour, push, tug
    strive and make an effort to reach a goal
    behave awkwardly; have difficulties
    reach, strain, strive
    to exert much effort or energy
    type of:
    assay, attempt, essay, seek, try
    make an effort or attempt
  5. verb
    exert strenuous effort against opposition
    “he struggled to get free from the rope”
    synonyms: strive
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    type of:
    endeavor, endeavour, strive
    attempt by employing effort
  6. verb
    be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight
    synonyms: contend, fight
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    bear down
    exert full strength
    fight with the fists
    join battle
    engage in a conflict
    struggle in opposition
    defend, fight, fight back, fight down, oppose
    fight against or resist strongly
    get back, settle
    get one's revenge for a wrong or an injury
    fight back
    defend oneself
    battle, combat
    battle or contend against in or as if in a battle
    make or wage war
    assail, attack
    launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
    fight a duel, as over one's honor or a woman
    joust against somebody in a tournament by fighting on horseback
    chicken-fight, chickenfight
    fight while sitting on somebody's shoulders
    engage in a tourney
    carry out a feud
    engage in a skirmish
    exchange blows
    fight with sword-like foils
    engage in a boxing match
    fight with spurs
    scuffle, tussle
    fight or struggle in a confused way at close quarters
    engage in a wrestling match
    engage, wage
    carry on (wars, battles, or campaigns)
    show strong objection or repugnance; manifest vigorous opposition or resistance; be obstinately disobedient
    engage in an aerial battle with another fighter plane
    combat to overcome an opposing tendency or force
    fight a quick and surprising war
    go to war, take arms, take up arms
    commence hostilities
    fend, resist, stand
    withstand the force of something
    hold out, resist, stand firm, withstand
    stand up or offer resistance to somebody or something
    attack by submarine
    pelt, pepper
    attack and bombard with or as if with missiles
    charge with a tilt
    hit, strike
    make a strategic, offensive, assault against an enemy, opponent, or a target
    counterattack, counterstrike
    make a counterattack
    attack with gas; subject to gas fumes
    storm, surprise
    attack by storm; attack suddenly
    attack suddenly and without warning
    invade, occupy
    march aggressively into another's territory by military force for the purposes of conquest and occupation
    beleaguer, besiege, circumvent, hem in, surround
    surround so as to force to give up
    drive back, fight off, rebuff, repel, repulse
    force or drive back
    bomb, bombard
    throw bombs at or attack with bombs
    attack with machine guns or cannon fire from a low-flying plane
    attack with cannons or artillery
    attack or hit with torpedoes
    block, deflect, parry
    impede the movement of (an opponent or a ball)
    box lightly
    box for a prize or money
    go through boxing motions without an opponent
    mud-wrestle, mudwrestle
    wrestle in mud
    offer, provide, put up
    mount or put up
    bust, raid
    search without warning, make a sudden surprise attack on
  7. verb
    climb awkwardly, as if by scrambling
    synonyms: clamber, scramble, shin, shinny, skin, sputter
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    type of:
    move with difficulty, by grasping




DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘struggle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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