Definition of battle in English:



  • 1A sustained fight between large organized armed forces.

    ‘the battle lasted for several hours’
    [in names] ‘the Battle of Waterloo’
    [mass noun] ‘he died in battle’
    • ‘In battle, I came to pity enemy prisoners because I had a cause to fight for and they did not.’
    • ‘In 1066, the Anglo-Saxons fought three battles against foreign invaders.’
    • ‘And who wants to fight 50 battles if you can prevail everywhere by winning just one?’
    • ‘He was a Navy lieutenant who fought in real battles.’
    • ‘Sovereignty was a figure for all those brave soldiers who fought and died in battle.’
    • ‘During his time in America, Philip fought in eight major battles and 50 skirmishes.’
    • ‘He enjoyed wars and was the first prime minister since the duke of Wellington to have fought in battle.’
    • ‘He declared that a truly great commander could win his campaigns without fighting any battles.’
    • ‘Hymns and prayers were said in memory of those who died in battle and those who fought and survived.’
    • ‘Their fleets of ships fought and won battles from the coasts of Kerry to Mizen's wild foreland, to the Mull of Kintyre.’
    • ‘Rarely do we see accounts of how housewives struggled at home while the men of valor fought the battles and won the wars.’
    • ‘In any successful war, individual battles must be fought with an eye towards the overriding objective.’
    • ‘Five major battles were fought around the town of Arras during World War One.’
    • ‘They determined the pace of the war - when battles were fought, what nature they assumed, when they were over.’
    • ‘Of the many battles in which he fought, the one we associate him with most is the Siege of Limerick, and then the treaty of Limerick.’
    • ‘A series of four battles were fought during the Italian campaign as the Allies tried to advance on Rome.’
    • ‘In 1916, tanks were first used in battle as the Battle of the Somme began in France.’
    • ‘In battle, it could be wielded as a quarterstaff against swordsmen, or as a pike against cavalry.’
    • ‘It is not a war fought with battles, it does not have front lines, nor does it have marches or invasions.’
    • ‘In a war there are many battles to be fought; which battle would become more important than the rest is not easily known.’
    fight, conflict, armed conflict, clash, struggle, skirmish, engagement, affray, fray, encounter, confrontation
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    1. 1.1A lengthy and difficult conflict or struggle.
      ‘the battle against ageing’
      • ‘After lengthy court battles and broken promises, the residents plight continued to fall on deaf ears.’
      • ‘The battle over small abattoirs is therefore also a battle for the future of agriculture.’
      • ‘This determination to achieve something extra began with a lengthy battle to regain the use of her partial limb.’
      • ‘Wolf, that's why we have a court set up to handle these very difficult custody battles.’
      • ‘One of the most difficult battles waged by these women has been against Public Works Department contractors.’
      • ‘Cougars face an uphill battle as they struggle to rebuild confidence for Sunday's clash with Leigh.’
      • ‘The most difficult battles were over divorce and the legalization of abortion.’
      • ‘Advisers say the panel has taken longer than normal to reach a decision because the process is likely to set a precedent for future battles.’
      • ‘You can expect financial gain and personal glory as you achieve difficult goals and stand up to stiff competition to win your battles.’
      • ‘It also foreshadows future battles over infrastructure for the site, such as roads, sewerage and water.’
      • ‘This is a battle about the future, about the shape of Labour's third term.’
      • ‘Allison and Kevin had, following lengthy legal battles, reached a shared custody agreement on Daniel's care.’
      • ‘It is almost certain now that the dispute will end up in a lengthy and expensive court battle.’
      • ‘Mr Rhodes said the conclusion of the deal yesterday brought to an end a long and difficult battle to keep the club going.’
      • ‘In each case, a certain peace had to have been made with the family or difficult, draining battles followed.’
      • ‘Two years later, he is still engaged in a legal battle to fight deportation and be allowed to stay here with his wife.’
      • ‘And the high profile court battles have shown how difficult it is to get medical experts to agree on how to interpret the facts of a case.’
      • ‘The pair did try and pursue the matter through the courts but could not afford a lengthy legal battle.’
      • ‘Even if the case never makes it to court, some companies pay up just to avoid bad press and lengthy legal battles.’
      • ‘The pair had been embroiled in lengthy legal battles over Daniel, but had reached a shared custody agreement on his care before Kevin's death.’
      conflict, clash, contest, competition, struggle
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  • 1 Struggle tenaciously to achieve or resist something.

    ‘he has been battling against the illness’
    • ‘A Bradford motorist was today battling for his life after a head-on car smash.’
    • ‘Despite this the pair battled on and the calendar was successfully published.’
    • ‘Rebecca Harrison was taken ill mid-way through the race but battled on to finish 40th.’
    • ‘Murphy, in his own way, has battled on to flourish in a harsh sports environment.’
    • ‘The once supreme Nine Network is battling for the sort of ratings it once took for granted.’
    • ‘Furious residents are battling for the second time to stop huge mobile phone masts going up in Corsham town centre.’
    • ‘We have been battling for years with very little resources to get something done.’
    • ‘We need to keep the volumes up as the margins have been falling and we are constantly battling against obsolescence.’
    • ‘Players on both sides are unknowingly battling for cross hemisphere respect from people they will never meet.’
    • ‘They are still battling against the world's best team, and doing it on foreign soil.’
    • ‘A youth worker has today spoken of how he helped save a teenager who is battling for life after being engulfed in flames.’
    • ‘The decision was a blow to Bradford pensioners who had been battling for free bus travel in the district.’
    • ‘Some fishing is still permitted around the islands, but divers and naturalists are battling for a total ban.’
    • ‘The sector is battling against cheaper imports because of the strength of the euro.’
    • ‘When you are battling against them, you forget how much they love the game.’
    • ‘The company is battling against slow growth in many of its core businesses.’
    • ‘A tsunami survivor is battling against ill-health to sit her exams next term.’
    • ‘As it stands, national lobby groups are battling against the ad budgets of brand name giants.’
    • ‘TEN weeks into the season and two sides are battling for the right to be named last unbeaten team in the league.’
    • ‘Most of the time during the past decade the England cricket team has been battling for survival.’
    fight, combat, contend with
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    1. 1.1[with object]Engage in a fight or struggle against.
      ‘firefighters battled a 9,800-acre brush fire’
      • ‘In this quest, she battles loneliness, fear and the oppression of perfection, but always with a light touch.’
      • ‘He had been battling cancer of the oesophagus and died at his home in Wiltshire.’
      • ‘Elsewhere, firefighters battled flash floods caused by the torrential rain.’
      • ‘A heroic elderly couple are battling the odds again - this time to get their guttering fixed.’
      • ‘The building was evacuated, and firefighters battled the fire for more than an hour.’
      • ‘Firefighters battled a blaze at the disused Robert Fletcher paper mill in Stoneclough last night.’
      • ‘I've spent years battling my worst impulses, trying to keep them under control.’
      • ‘York dialysis patient Mandy Coles will be battling the bulge this festive season, like the rest of the nation.’
      • ‘He has been battling the disease, and receiving chemotherapy and other treatment, ever since.’
      • ‘But the under-fire Burnley keeper insists he is not battling a crisis of confidence.’
      • ‘A young man who is battling cancer is appealing to Bradford's Asian community to help save his life.’
      • ‘Even before Tuesday's events, airlines were battling one of the toughest years in recent history.’
      • ‘Firefighters battled the blaze for more than seven hours before it was finally brought under control.’
      • ‘However, the Trust is battling a big rise in patients being sent to hospital by family doctors.’
      • ‘He has gone from a club playing UEFA Cup football next year to a club that will be battling relegation.’
      • ‘Residents are battling a supermarket's plans to build a pedestrian crossing in their scenic village.’
      • ‘The friends of a teenager who is battling cancer for the second time plan to send him on a holiday to Euro Disney.’
      • ‘He already battles multiple sclerosis, and he wears braces on his legs.’
      • ‘The wind had swept in making it harder for the firefighters to battle the blaze.’
      • ‘He was reported to be battling depression, and had gone through a painful and costly divorce.’
      scramble, struggle, labour
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  • battle it out

    • Fight or compete to a definite conclusion.

      ‘bike riders from all over the country battled it out’
      • ‘Shooting teams from all over Europe battled it out in an exciting competition three weeks ago in Bywell, Scotland.’
      • ‘A decade ago there were no Bentleys, nor many of the other makes of cars that now battle it out in a fiercely competitive market.’
      • ‘Despite very wet conditions Colm battled it out and had a very competitive win.’
      • ‘West and Wilson will definitely battle it out again for best new artist category.’
      • ‘The sheepdog won round one of Thursday's competition before battling it out in the final with 30 other dogs in the mixed breed category.’
      • ‘The first event on the list is the mixed draughts competitions with Hacketstown battling it out in two sections.’
      • ‘For the first time the winners will be put forward to battle it out in the Anglia in Bloom competition on July 22.’
      • ‘Innovation was the name of the game, as schoolchildren from across Yorkshire battled it out in a special inventors' competition.’
      • ‘This means that the competitors will have to battle it out over four special stages run twice.’
      • ‘Ten schools participated in the competition and teams of four to five youngsters battled it out in heats to get the chance to perform at the Arts Centre.’
  • battle royal

    • A fiercely contested fight or dispute.

      ‘there promises to be a battle royal between the two companies’
      • ‘But Killererin won't go down without a battle royal.’
      • ‘We all know now that London triumphed, but from the moment the 2004 Games ended in Athens there was a battle royal with the other four cities in contention - Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow.’
      • ‘What is emerging is a battle royal between companies and politicians out to create a single European market in electricity and those fighting to defend narrow national interests.’
      • ‘Still, the financial services industry is girding itself for a battle royal.’
      • ‘Take advantage of the ice, snow and cold of January by ice skating, sledding, skiing, building a snow family or staging a snowball battle royal.’
      • ‘The coach believes the match will be a battle royal, inspired by a clash of styles.’
      • ‘Del Toro brings a solid visual eye to the project, but his fight scenes are overlong and too close to a WWF battle royal than superhuman opponents squaring off.’
      • ‘And so, given the budget deficits ahead, the battle royal will be fought over what remains of federal social spending.’
      • ‘Consequently, there will now be a battle royal (of which this article is part) about the rights and wrongs of these particular tactics, and the bigger picture will inevitably be lost.’
      • ‘The wisdom of those remarks is demonstrated by the revelation that these parties have spent £50,000 on this litigation so far and they still have a battle royal to fight over damages for misrepresentation.’
      quarrel, argument, row, fight, disagreement, difference of opinion, dissension, falling-out, dispute, disputation, contention, squabble, contretemps, clash, altercation, exchange, brawl, tussle, conflict, affray, war of words, shouting match, fracas, wrangle, tangle, misunderstanding, passage at arms, passage of arms, battle royal
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  • battle stations

    • The positions taken by military personnel in preparation for battle (often used as a command or signal to prepare for battle).

      • ‘Archer was just arriving on the bridge to greet his new commander when the battle stations alarm sounded.’
      • ‘They only test how efficient specialists are at their battle stations as part of teams or crews.’
      • ‘My questions focused on whether there was any attempt to go to battle stations, to have the director of FBI meet with the president, meet with the director of CIA, meet with the attorney general.’
      • ‘Get back up to the bridge and have the officer of the deck go to battle stations.’
      • ‘The group spilled out of the training room, instinctively moving in different directions toward their battle stations.’
      • ‘Because their mission is yet to be determined, the crewmembers are training on everything from force protection to battle stations and rules of engagement.’
      • ‘Here, they learned about the enemy, studied flight behavior records, in video form, that had been sent from the front line of the battle, from the leading battle stations.’
      • ‘Now a deafening siren comes on and a speaker blares ‘Battle stations, all personnel to battle stations.’’
      • ‘After his brief glance around the bridge, Dozle picked up the ship's intercom transmitter and yelled ‘All hands to battle stations.’’
      • ‘The soldiers filed out to their battle stations as Jack made his way to the General.’
      battleground, front, battle front, battle lines, field of operations, field of battle, combat zone, theatre, arena of war, theatre of war, battle stations
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  • half the battle

    • An important step towards achieving something.

      ‘he never gives in, and that's half the battle’
      • ‘Winning self-government is only half the battle; for thereafter you have to start governing yourselves and this is a lot more difficult than it sounds.’
      • ‘But they admit that being a good rider is only half the battle.’
      • ‘Curiosity is the first step towards knowledge, and knowing is half the battle.’
      • ‘I knew that was only half the battle - exercise was going to be an important component to my weight loss.’
      • ‘If you've ever had the displeasure of tangling with your landlord at the rental board, you know getting yourself down there is half the battle.’
      • ‘However, all these matter are only half the battle.’
      • ‘If a good start is half the battle then two good starts will surely win most battles.’
      • ‘But let's take it a step further and say that recruiting and training is only half the battle.’
      • ‘Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and body is half the battle at this stage.’
      • ‘If they approve of you, you've won half the battle.’


Middle English: from Old French bataille (noun), bataillier (verb), based on late Latin battualia military or gladiatorial exercises, from Latin battuere to beat.