Definition of guerrilla in English:


(also guerilla)


  • 1A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.

    ‘this small town fell to the guerrillas’
    [as modifier] ‘guerrilla warfare’
    • ‘Rebel guerrillas would be tracked, then intercepted before reaching their targets.’
    • ‘Many innocent civilians have been caught in the middle of a war between the country's military and the guerillas.’
    • ‘When you're fighting guerrillas, or terrorists, the enemy is quite literally hydra-headed.’
    • ‘The US is concerned that the weapons are intended for domestic militias or foreign guerillas.’
    • ‘The military power employed went beyond American troops engaged in fighting guerillas.’
    • ‘The US military estimated about 100 guerrillas had been killed in the assault.’
    • ‘They were transformed into a both a modern guerilla force, and a terror outfit.’
    • ‘This program forced civilians to take sides and served to increasingly isolate guerillas from popular support.’
    • ‘It was system of indirect control, with the US constantly fighting low level guerilla warfare with special forces.’
    • ‘The accepted ratio of government forces to guerrillas is often cited as 10:1.’
    • ‘In practice this has been an inefficient way of aiding the country's fight against left-wing guerrillas.’
    • ‘He promised a massive military response to the guerillas with a budget of a billion dollars and a million men enlisted as volunteers.’
    • ‘The regiment has long experience in Yemen, where it fought against guerrillas in the 1960s.’
    • ‘Russian forces have been fighting the separatist guerrillas on and off since 1994.’
    • ‘It's not like Russia where you can retreat and retreat - you hole up and fight a guerilla war, or you run out of country.’
    • ‘In the rush to war, the Western Coalition was not prepared for the guerilla warfare they're now faced with.’
    • ‘It was the first major strategic attack carried out by a guerilla force and the attackers came from within as well as without our society.’
    • ‘By taking care of routine policing and security, they will free the US army to conduct raids and fight the guerrillas.’
    • ‘During the eighteenth century, the Sikhs had to fight a guerilla war against huge forces.’
    • ‘State news agency MIA said the guerrillas were opening fire from a Tetovo suburb.’
    freedom fighter, underground fighter, irregular soldier, irregular, resistance fighter, member of the resistance, partisan
    rebel, radical, revolutionary, revolutionist
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[as modifier] Referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorization.
      ‘guerrilla theater’
      • ‘These days, a friendship with Pete Doherty and a habit of guerrilla gigging virtually guarantee success.’
      • ‘Here's one for luck, a deadly nicotine tea used for the mass destruction of aphids by guerrilla gardeners.’
      • ‘We're guerrilla publishers: you see a gap and fill it to as high a standard as possible.’
      • ‘Several small actions took place - street theatre, guerrilla gardening, sitdowns.’
      • ‘The guerrilla gigs and the reduced-price gigs are an extension of this philosophy, and an attempt to form a community.’
      • ‘All this guerrilla artwork reflected the widespread belief that it was the IRA that had pulled off the heist.’


Early 19th century (introduced during the Peninsular War (1808–14)): from Spanish, diminutive of guerra war.