Definition of dogfight in US English:



  • 1A close combat between military aircraft.

    • ‘When the aircraft closed in on each other - at hundreds of miles per hour - the dogfights began.’
    • ‘The enemy's apparent reluctance tempted some of the novice Hellcat pilots to break formation and seek dogfights.’
    • ‘Now they could only wait for the range to close and the dogfight to begin.’
    • ‘An aerial dogfight swiftly erupted at 8000 feet above the Adriatic.’
    • ‘I had read little or nothing about the photo troops but read many books on fighter pilots, bomber raids, dogfights and the like.’
    • ‘I noticed how almost every kind of military strategy, from air force dogfights to large scale naval maneuvers, is based on the idea of Fire and Motion.’
    • ‘In time, they battled over trenches in World War I, engaged in dogfights with other aircraft, attacked ground troops and disrupted enemy activity near the front lines.’
    • ‘US pilots, having overwhelming numbers, then shot down one of the two remaining aircraft when Nowotny's engines malfunctioned during the dogfight.’
    • ‘Being over friendly territory, I could see no reason for landing immediately, so I turned toward a big dogfight and shortly had another 190 in my sights.’
    • ‘All engagements - whether they are air-to-air dogfights or hand-to-hand combat - conform to this simple, powerful and insightful model.’
    • ‘The flak was still there, though not nearly as heavy, and I could see at least two dogfights.’
    • ‘The Americans lost only twenty-two fighter aircraft in dogfights or to flak over Guam; nine more planes were lost operationally or on search missions.’
    • ‘The Zero was just too maneuverable to tackle in a dogfight.’
    • ‘So far, the Korea-style dogfight seems to have all but disappeared from the air-to-air battle.’
    • ‘Battle of Britain is a wonderful film if what you principally want to see are lots of vintage World War II aircraft engaged in aerial dogfights.’
    • ‘In a dogfight near Venlo in The Netherlands, his Spitfire was hit but he still shot down a Messerschmitt.’
    • ‘Instead of recounting endless dogfights or mission recaps, Brulle shows the attitudes and viewpoints of the men who were primarily engaged in tactical air support.’
    • ‘The book relates not only the excitement of dogfights, but also incidents of bailouts and accidents during the flying and fighting that took place over Korea.’
    • ‘As a result, they could not adapt to the fast maneuvering by North Vietnamese fighters during dogfights.’
    • ‘First, early helmets did not take into account how often pilots use peripheral vision during a close-range dogfight.’
    fight, conflict, armed conflict, clash, struggle, skirmish, engagement, affray, fray, encounter, confrontation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A ferocious struggle for supremacy between interested parties.
      ‘the meeting deteriorated into a dogfight’
      • ‘We want to be in that dogfight for the overall win.’
      • ‘There is no exciting relegation dogfight for those at the bottom end of the scale.’
      • ‘With its first 19 games against the A.L. West, the club will get a preview of what appears to be another three-team dogfight for the division.’
      • ‘They play a similar style to us, so it's going to be a dogfight, a hard battle, one we're looking forward to.’
      • ‘Let's leave politicians to their boring old dogfight and put ourselves on centre stage.’
      • ‘That's when qualifiers from the 14 regional venues will join the exempted players in a 36-hole dogfight over four courses for a coveted place in the starting line-up on Thursday week.’
      • ‘It survived by the skin of its teeth in the first season and, in the second, Richmond invested heavily in talent to prevent another dogfight.’
      • ‘With his claiming more MP supporters than all his four rivals combined, he is assured a place in the final, two-person dogfight - where a winner is chosen by a vote of the 300,000 party members.’
      • ‘The great man was so exhausted in the four-hour marathon dogfight that he stood at the back of the court vomiting early in the fifth set.’
      • ‘On the other hand, if the cable operator gets there just in time, they're likely to end up in a dogfight with the competition for every single customer.’
      • ‘Moorby knows his side are in for a typical bottom-of-the-table dogfight and he has instructed his players to take control from the outset.’
      • ‘At such an early stage of the season, this was never going to be exactly a relegation dogfight - but it was certainly competed with the ferocity of one.’
      • ‘They are in a comfortable fourth place in the Nationwide Conference standings and can taste a place in the historic first ever end-of-season dogfight.’
      • ‘A right, auld political dogfight is shaping up in the town and surrounds as local election activity starts to step up a gear.’
      • ‘The battle for this market is shaping up into a trash-talking dogfight.’
      • ‘According to stockbrokers, the group has emerged from last year's dogfight over supermarket contract renewals in ‘pretty good shape’.’
      • ‘Recent good work by the team looked light years away and they have now got themselves embroiled in a dogfight that they might struggle to win.’
      • ‘This should be a physical, knock-down, drag-out dogfight of a game.’
      • ‘As everyone recognises, the rebuilding of New Orleans and the rest of the afflicted Gulf region will be an epic political dogfight.’
      • ‘Consumers clearly need an objective referee to sort out this dogfight, and that should be the transportation authority's job.’
    2. 1.2 A fight between dogs, especially one organized illegally for public entertainment.
      • ‘Owning a fighting dog and watching a dogfight are also illegal in almost all states.’
      • ‘A sequence of photos depicting an organised dogfight is gruesome and disgustingly effective, dog's scarred faces contrasting with the pixelised faces of their censored owners.’
      • ‘Presumably, the triads are too busy organising dogfights where a winning pooch can scamper off with a $HK1,000,000 purse.’


  • Engage in a dogfight.

    no object ‘resplendent model airplanes dogfighting in the updrafts’
    • ‘Martha and Smoke made it to the top where they dogfighted it out to see who would be king of that hill.’
    • ‘Should the standard settings be too much for you, or you'd just like to blow planes out of the sky, you have the option of arcade style where you can dogfight to your heart's content.’
    • ‘The company could have made this a perfect bargain bin pickup if for nothing else but the opportunity to dogfight the online skies.’
    • ‘The F-16 was at its best when it was dogfighting.’
    • ‘Sanders said they started while we were in battle, or just after, when you and I were dogfighting.’
    • ‘The two usually try and dogfight, and usually clip each other and spin down.’
    • ‘Conceived to dogfight Soviet planes that never got off the drawing board, it has no mission.’
    • ‘Gone are the days of constantly firing missile after missile; once you're out, you're down to your machine guns, so you better learn how to dogfight effectively.’
    • ‘American aircraft engaged in air-to-air combat for the first time, dogfighting the Germans in WWI.’
    • ‘The F-16 flew all the way from a base in Israel to Egypt, loaded with armaments, dogfighted, dropped bombs, then returned home still with 800 pounds of fuel left.’
    • ‘When you're dogfighting you're treated to fragments of planes and fluid destruction with lots of splinters and clouds of black smoke appearing from different sections.’
    • ‘You're dogfighting between massive cruisers and effectively dropping a never-ending stream of countermeasures because everyone in the sky is firing guided missiles at you.’
    • ‘We won't actually be dogfighting, that's inadvisable.’
    • ‘The pilot that he had just dogfighted with would have taken the first shot that he was presented with.’