SKIP TO CONTENT

tussle

A tussle is a rowdy fight. If the rambunctious kids you're babysitting get into a tussle, you may have to separate them for a while and calm them down.

Though a tussle is often a physical fight, it's rarely a serious one. Two wrestling dogs, a couple of scuffling teenagers — these are examples of tussles. The word tussle is Scottish, a variant of touselen, which is related to tousle, or "dishevel or muss," which you might do to a little kid's hair. The root of both is the Old English tousen, "handle or push about roughly."

Definitions of tussle
  1. noun
    disorderly fighting
    synonyms: dogfight, hassle, rough-and-tumble, scuffle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    combat, fight, fighting, scrap
    the act of fighting; any contest or struggle
  2. verb
    fight or struggle in a confused way at close quarters
    synonyms: scuffle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    contend, fight, struggle
    be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight
  3. verb
    make messy or untidy
    synonyms: muss
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disarrange
    destroy the arrangement or order of
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’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.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week