Definition of conflict in US English:



  • 1A serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one.

    ‘the eternal conflict between the sexes’
    ‘doctors often come into conflict with politicians’
    • ‘At present, the reform agenda had been derailed by the protracted conflict between the government and the legislative body, he said.’
    • ‘There is a real conflict between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.’
    • ‘In conclusion, I turn to other, more recent expressions of the conflict between the two cultures.’
    • ‘The battle symbolises the ongoing conflict between the universal forces of creation and destruction.’
    • ‘Those chapters use gender issues to illustrate the conflict between universalism and cultural relativism.’
    • ‘Japan is then in the throes of a conflict between rich industrialists keen on quickly modernising the nation and the samurai clans trying to retain the old order.’
    • ‘At the root of the culture war is a conflict between theism and atheism’
    • ‘The problems with Wi-Fi Hotspots are symptomatic of the fundamental conflict between the cellular phone industry and the rest of our society and economy.’
    • ‘This is a battle over the right to call this conflict a conflict between two peoples: one that is oppressed, and the other that is denying them their right to be free.’
    • ‘But, over time, this control diminished, spurring the conflict between the old and new leadership out into the open.’
    • ‘This conflict is like a conflict between two sons in a family.’
    • ‘The torture situation is an external conflict, a conflict between the subject and his tormentor.’
    • ‘But it is not right for the president to make such a remark openly because it has already given rise to a serious conflict among politicians and has had ill effects.’
    • ‘We see the toll in the conflict between nurses and physicians when there is disagreement about the goals of care.’
    • ‘Over the next few years there would emerge the most serious conflict between the judiciary and the executive that has ever occurred in Australian history.’
    • ‘With a square conflict between two federal appeals courts, the secret hearing issue appears ripe for Supreme Court resolution.’
    • ‘I think there is serious conflict between science and most religions.’
    • ‘My own present church was a church plant more or less birthed after a period of bitter and protracted conflict between the pastor and some board members at his former church.’
    • ‘In fact the conflict is so serious as to make the evidence of a witness retained on that basis inherently suspect and perhaps even valueless.’
    • ‘In the past the discussion was always about the conflict between the industry minister and the education minister.’
    dispute, quarrel, squabble, disagreement, difference of opinion, dissension
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    1. 1.1 A prolonged armed struggle.
      ‘overseas conflicts’
      • ‘Australia was not born of a blood-soaked conflict or struggle to be free from oppression.’
      • ‘I see perhaps a protracted conflict against various terrorist organizations and nations that harbor them.’
      • ‘A prolonged conflict would drive up gasoline and other prices, which would add to the cost of transporting most products.’
      • ‘This theory does rely upon a swift resolution, and a prolonged conflict would have an equally opposite and negative reaction to the rebound in the global economy and stock markets.’
      • ‘More than 300,000 child soldiers are fighting in armed conflicts in more than thirty countries worldwide.’
      • ‘It should impose martial law or state of emergency in the zones of armed conflicts and antiterrorism operations.’
      • ‘The recent local wars and armed conflicts taught us to pay special attention to the paratroopers' armaments.’
      • ‘This author believes that the problem of employing the Navy in local wars and armed conflicts needs further study.’
      • ‘More than a million people were displaced during the armed conflict.’
      • ‘The communication system should ensure reliable and effective command and control of troops in the course of an armed conflict.’
      • ‘For the remainder of 1899, the war was a conventional conflict between the American and Republican armies.’
      • ‘An analysis of the local wars and armed conflicts suggests that air force invariably defeated air defense forces.’
      • ‘This will probably also be characteristic of armed conflicts and local wars in any strategic sectors.’
      • ‘A public conference next week will look at reconciliation and rebuilding after serious conflicts.’
      • ‘Fighting in an armed conflict does not constitute murder, or aiding an ‘enemy’.’
      • ‘Yet the world does need to see and understand its armed conflicts.’
      • ‘For millennia, Earth had served as an arena, the battleground for an unrelenting conflict between the forces of heaven and hell.’
      • ‘The perception of the lineup and balance of forces and the character of future armed conflicts is beginning to change.’
      • ‘Here are some articles from the Geneva Convention that deal with the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.’
      • ‘It is even harder to hope for success in military actions on a larger scale, like an armed conflict escalating into a local war.’
      war, armed conflict, action, military action, campaign, battle, fighting, fight, confrontation, armed confrontation, clash, armed clash, engagement, encounter, struggle, armed struggle, hostilities
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    2. 1.2 A condition in which a person experiences a clash of opposing wishes or needs.
      • ‘The goal of their study was to test a model of the relationships between time, conflict and psychological distress.’
      • ‘To experience conflict with a therapist and learn to resolve it is often the path out of depression.’
      • ‘There was a positive correlation between conflict and depression, anxiety, and stress.’
      • ‘Anxiety, frustration and conflict are a part of life and will cause children some psychological problems at one time or another.’
      • ‘These issues were salient in the lives of these teens and were conducive to both the exploration of alternatives and the experience of conflict.’
    3. 1.3 An incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles, or interests.
      ‘there was a conflict between his business and domestic life’
      • ‘Even now, insiders fear the application will be called in by the Executive because of a potential conflict of interest at the council in its role as planning authority.’
      • ‘The entire subject would become a conflict of interest.’
      • ‘Indeed, we could probably argue that their existing costs were already too high, and that takes us back to a ministerial conflict of interest.’
      • ‘It's just one of the difficult ways that they have to confront the conflict between the rights of the defendant and national security.’
      • ‘The artificial conflict between formalist art with its hermetic integrity and content art with its higher purpose of social change seems to be evoked.’
      • ‘The conflict between the respective positions creates a serious issue which, in my view, can be determined properly only after a trial.’
      • ‘Unless we control the conflict between profit and health, the number of uninsured and under served will continue to grow.’
      • ‘Mike was experiencing a serious conflict between his own deeply held beliefs and a blooming awareness that the real world might not conform to those beliefs after all.’
      • ‘The evolution versus creation controversy is really a conflict between two histories of death.’
      • ‘The deep linking controversy highlights a fundamental conflict between community and commerce.’
      • ‘It also questions whether there is a conflict of interest if the administrators become involved in the much-rumoured management buy-out.’
      • ‘This world is one in which there is a conflict between historical culture, the impulses of the individual body and the intensities of inner experience.’
      • ‘Of course, as I reported a couple of weeks ago, the board has a serious conflict of interest on its hands.’
      • ‘And that is too heavy a reliance on commission-based payments, on payments that introduce a conflict of interest.’
      • ‘For me, all fantasy writing is specifically about one conflict, the conflict between the way we think the world is and the way we feel it ought to be.’
      • ‘Directors who are aware of a conflict of interest in any proposed contract are required to draw it to the attention of the board, but may thereafter take part in any vote on the matter.’
      • ‘The conflict between this culture and their background isn't explored clearly.’
      • ‘But mothers are faced with a tragic conflict of interest that no amount of wishful thinking or social engineering or wilful blindness can resolve.’
      • ‘The last, for instance, explores the conflict between cultural traditions and powerful assimilative tendencies.’
      • ‘For the very same people to firstly decide on that and then be the principal beneficiaries of its policies and money is a serious conflict of interest.’
      clash, incompatibility, incongruity, lack of congruence, friction, opposition, mismatch, variance, difference, divergence, contradiction, inconsistency, discrepancy, divided loyalties
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[no object]
  • 1Be incompatible or at variance; clash.

    ‘parents' and children's interests sometimes conflict’
    ‘those tournament dates would have conflicted with Memorial Day’
    • ‘Here, we should not assume that economic interests necessarily conflicted with love interests.’
    • ‘The effect of alcohol on fertility is not clear as the results of studies are conflicting.’
    • ‘The judge held that the development manifestly conflicted with the allocation of land in the development plan.’
    • ‘She should not have been treated using a local anaesthetic because it conflicted with drugs she was using for hernia and heart problems.’
    • ‘Their explanations, however, still conflicted with some documents written at the time.’
    • ‘Many people strongly opposed the idea of evolution because it conflicted with their religious convictions.’
    • ‘The rising expectations of all classes conflicted with the need to reduce government expenditure.’
    • ‘The proposals also conflicted with the national park's Local Plan policies which protect conservation areas.’
    • ‘I auditioned but had to withdraw because it conflicted with my photo contract.’
    • ‘There were also conflicting reports about the reasons for the suspect's arrest.’
    • ‘Abortion rights activists said it conflicted with three decades of Supreme Court precedent.’
    • ‘What he instilled in students was responsibility for, and courage in, our own ideas, even when they conflicted with his own.’
    • ‘They maintained the case had not been made for the court, which conflicted with the protection of human rights and a liberal democracy.’
    • ‘However the two fundamental rights must not be seen as inherently conflicting.’
    • ‘This later evidence conflicted with known global migration data, and the materials were sent to four independent labs for dating.’
    • ‘National guidance derived from the records of multiple organisations was conflicting.’
    • ‘On the basis of existing trials, such a trial would be ethical because present evidence is conflicting.’
    • ‘This would, of course, have conflicted with church services and Sunday worship.’
    • ‘I think it is incredibly difficult for teenagers who are bombarded with conflicting messages.’
    • ‘In order to reconcile these two conflicting beliefs, we would have to seek the truth.’
    contradictory, incompatible, inconsistent, irreconcilable, incongruous, contrary, opposite, opposing, opposed, antithetical, clashing, discordant, differing, different, divergent, discrepant, varying, disagreeing, contrasting
    clash, be incompatible, be inconsistent, be incongruous, be in opposition, be at variance, vary, be at odds, be in conflict, come into conflict, differ, diverge, disagree, contrast, collide
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    1. 1.1as adjective conflicted Having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent feelings.
      ‘my feelings are so conflicted that I hardly know how to answer’
      • ‘While the conflicted desires of women have created some of this tension, society sends its own mixed signals.’
      • ‘The play itself offers a conflicted examination of some of these issues surrounding the status of performance.’
      • ‘Her home was in Virginia; however, she had to remain silent about her conflicted feelings.’
      • ‘To be fair, the vice president faced a conflicted public opinion environment.’
      • ‘As a result, more intensive intervention is recommended for the conflicted couples.’
      • ‘The entire middle part of the film is devoted to the couple's conflicted struggle to save him.’
      • ‘But it is the natural imagery that makes this conflicted love poem so memorable.’
      • ‘The result is an intellectual portrait of a complex, conflicted man.’
      • ‘His conflicted expression is suddenly interrupted by a flash of levity.’
      • ‘But of course Aristotle does not mean that a conflicted person has more than one faculty of reason.’
      • ‘He is so disturbed by his conflicted feelings that he attacks the castle.’
      • ‘Consequently, we seldom talk about or even allow ourselves to be conscious of our conflicted feelings.’
      • ‘It was wonderful to see her, of course, so I feel terrible about being so conflicted and ungenerous.’
      • ‘She made a conflicted plea bargain in the case and received a stiff twenty-year to life sentence.’
      • ‘This is obviously a desperate attempt at rational thought by a deeply conflicted individual.’
      • ‘His was a large presence, and his course, again, ran through conflicted times.’
      • ‘A greater number of conflicted couples reported being childless than other types of couples.’
      • ‘The most conflicted and pessimistic families were least likely to move to a new conversational level.’
      • ‘It is these qualities we need to understand if we are to make sense of this conflicted representation of New York.’
      • ‘But back then, the social conservatives were an emerging force with conflicted roots.’


Late Middle English: from Latin conflict- ‘struck together, fought’, from the verb confligere, from con- ‘together’ + fligere ‘to strike’; the noun is via Latin conflictus ‘a contest’.