Definition of struggle in US English:

struggle

verb

[no object]
  • 1Make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.

    ‘before she could struggle, he lifted her up’
    with infinitive ‘he struggled to break free’
    • ‘It growled in pain, its body struggling to break free.’
    • ‘She was still struggling to break free from its hold but was failing miserably.’
    • ‘We get the image of a man's face struggling to break free of what appears to be some sort of womb.’
    • ‘Alarmed, Darlene lurched forward, struggling to break free, but it was no use.’
    • ‘Rebecca struggled to break free but he was hurting her.’
    • ‘They soon came to a small, ramshackle village and dismounted, Mishana struggling violently to be free.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the drunken man on the other side of the room was struggling to break free of the flimsy curtain that separated us.’
    • ‘She struggled for breath as she fainted and fell to the ground, motionless.’
    • ‘Startled, Peter struggled to break free, but suddenly there were knives all around him and he was held down.’
    • ‘Sami shouted, struggling to break free of Rowan's spell.’
    • ‘Eric was struggling to break free, each gesture binding him tighter and tighter, squeezing his ribs and his frail arm.’
    • ‘He struggled to break free, and the pair stumbled across the room and up against the bureau.’
    • ‘I knew what he was going to do and I screamed, struggling to break free.’
    • ‘Kicking and thrashing, Jennifer desperately struggled to break free.’
    • ‘It had a particularly ‘jack-in-the box’ sound to it, in which each note seemed to struggle to break free.’
    • ‘The frigate was struggling to break free, but with it's destroyed engine and other damage, it wasn't much of a fight.’
    • ‘Jerry gurgled, struggling to break free of Tiamat's grip.’
    • ‘She caught his shoulders, but she began to struggle under his weight.’
    • ‘Adrian yelled, struggling to break free but Dennis was too strong for him.’
    • ‘Rachel yelled in frustration, violently struggling to free herself from Todd's firm hold.’
    fight, grapple, wrestle, scuffle, brawl, spar, exchange blows, come to blows
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Engage in conflict.
      ‘politicians continued to struggle over familiar issues’
      • ‘This shift in rodeo queen criteria did not sit well with women who struggled to continue competing in rodeo.’
      • ‘Why not take advantage of some opportunities that may not be there if Wie does continue to struggle against the men?’
      • ‘He continued to struggle when other officers arrived but was eventually arrested.’
      • ‘It was probably the worst time to begin and the country has continued to struggle to this day.’
      • ‘The network's chairman announces his departure as CNN continues to struggle in the cable ratings war.’
      • ‘Jessica screams as she looks into Stephanie's deadly eyes and the two women struggle desperately for survival.’
      • ‘I was the assistant captain, so I struggled with him, and managed to throw him on to the ice.’
      • ‘Indigenous people around the world continue to struggle against the exploitation of their land and resources.’
      • ‘Mass marketers continue to struggle against thick competition from department store and specialty brands.’
      • ‘Shops in the town continually have to struggle against fierce competition from bigger centres.’
      • ‘These groups, despite the brutal opposition of the state, continue to struggle against corrupt and repressive regimes.’
      • ‘She struggled vainly to get away, but eventually gave up.’
      • ‘He's reviewing whether he can continue to provide his employees' benefits as he struggles to compete.’
      • ‘Retailers continuing to struggle amidst intense competition, a slowing economy and low inflation.’
      • ‘These shifts did not occur without inner turmoil and conflict, and many fractions continue to struggle within the party today.’
      • ‘It smacks more of a fragmented nation struggling to reconcile the conflicting agendas of disparate racial groups.’
      • ‘Mark Bahnisch continues to struggle valiantly against his blogging addiction, but with less than complete success.’
      compete, contend, contest, vie, fight, battle, clash, wrangle, jockey, lock horns, cross swords, war, wage war, feud
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    2. 1.2 Strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance.
      ‘new authors are struggling in the present climate’
      with infinitive ‘many families struggle to make ends meet’
      • ‘They said they were already struggling to cope with the 6,500 people on their books.’
      • ‘The city struggled for the survival of its body as well as its soul.’
      • ‘He and his board have struggled valiantly to keep the club going, despite facing major obstacles.’
      • ‘The loss to Tranmere was excusable, but two defeats to teams struggling to survive is very disappointing.’
      • ‘With a new manager the side has struggled to find the highs of recent seasons.’
      • ‘The former dairy worker is struggling to get much enthusiasm from fellow tenants.’
      • ‘The US $183 million Yankees are struggling mightily at the plate, leaving their fans restless.’
      • ‘The homesters struggled against some very tidy bowling and were dismissed for 89.’
      • ‘He was struggling mightily at the plate in the play-offs and appeared out of sorts.’
      • ‘Both she and Hope were desperately struggling to keep a straight face.’
      • ‘The Italian economy is struggling under a burden of recession, rising inflation, and high government debt.’
      • ‘But he struggled with injuries for much of the season and missed four games.’
      • ‘Fordyce has struggled offensively all season but is signed for two more years.’
      • ‘Many ordinary men and women struggle hard to achieve more equality in their lives.’
      • ‘The woman struggled to her feet when there was a loud creaking sound.’
      • ‘Both sides struggled to find a route to goal in the second half.’
      • ‘Most of their batsmen are still struggling to cope with the New Zealand pace attack.’
      • ‘Tibetan culture is also struggling against these odds, merely to survive.’
      • ‘He struggled at the plate and needs to regain his confidence.’
      • ‘His gait was bent and he was struggling against all odds just to keep himself going.’
      strive, try hard, endeavour, make every effort, spare no effort, exert oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, battle, labour, toil, strain, bend over backwards, put oneself out
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    3. 1.3struggle with Have difficulty handling or coping with.
      ‘passengers struggle with bags and briefcases’
      • ‘Many people struggle with managing their time and trying to achieve everything they want to throughout the day.’
      • ‘Family and friends knew all about my struggles with domestic management and parenting, my daytime naps, and early nights.’
      • ‘I wonder if you could spare a thought this week for these people as they struggle with their present difficulties.’
      • ‘In a climate where it seems other politicians struggle with that acceptance, it's a refreshing change.’
      • ‘In light of this, it was a shame to learn that the resort is struggling with financial difficulties.’
      • ‘She struggled with the handle before swinging the door open, diving in and slamming it shut again.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, even she struggled with some of the difficulties posed by the system.’
      • ‘It is evident that the Ericsson services business was struggling with similar sorts of issues.’
      • ‘He was the person his colleagues turned to when they were struggling with difficult clinical problems.’
      • ‘The former world number one is still struggling with a stomach strain.’
    4. 1.4 Make one's way with difficulty.
      ‘he struggled to the summit of the world's highest mountain’
      scramble, flounder, stumble
      View synonyms

noun

  • 1A forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.

    • ‘Detectives are still investigating that possibility but believe much of the damage to the house was caused during the violent struggle.’
    • ‘In a violent struggle, Bourgass stabbed police officer Stephen Oake to death and wounded three others as he tried to escape.’
    • ‘A 22-year-old man who bit an elderly petrol station worker on the shoulder during a violent struggle has been jailed by a judge for two years.’
    • ‘The Bata workers' struggle erupted amid developing unrest throughout Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘When he and the shop-keeper returned to the tree, the bird lay on the ground, dead from her wild struggle to free herself.’
    • ‘They eventually arrested him despite his violent struggles.’
    • ‘They then asked for money and again the boys refused and a struggle ensued.’
    • ‘His struggles to free himself were again fruitless.’
    • ‘His feet were concealed within a thick layer of ice that seemed not to budge with his most violent struggles.’
    • ‘After a violent struggle Seek manages to get free from their grasp.’
    • ‘After a violent struggle, he managed to restrain Vita on the ground until back-up arrived.’
    • ‘There was a stand-off, before the officers used CS gas on the man and after a violent struggle, he was subdued and arrested.’
    • ‘The lesser struggle is the physical struggle of self-defence.’
    • ‘The manager of a mini-supermarket ended up in a violent struggle after confronting a thief, a court heard.’
    • ‘She was embedded in the mud right up to the points of her shoulders, and she was exhausted from her struggles to free herself.’
    • ‘He said the wounds suggested a violent struggle and that bruising to Mrs Mace's neck suggested an attempt at manual strangulation.’
    • ‘One victim suffered severe bruising during a violent struggle before the robbers escaped with £13,000.’
    • ‘America's wars and violent struggles are always fought with goals of preventing future terror attacks and saving lives.’
    • ‘Within about 15 minutes neighbours heard voices and banging on the walls sounding like a violent struggle was taking place.’
    • ‘Ambulance chiefs today condemned a teenager who assaulted a senior paramedic and a policeman during a violent struggle in York.’
    fight, scuffle, brawl, tussle, wrestling match, sparring match, wrestling bout, bout, skirmish, fracas, melee, affray, encounter, disturbance, breach of the peace
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A conflict or contest.
      ‘a power struggle for the leadership’
      ‘with a struggle, she pulled the stroller up the slope’
      • ‘A basic preoccupation of science fiction is the often troubled relationship between humanity and other life-forms and, by extension, the role played by technology in the struggle for power and control.’
      • ‘Conflict in Angola flared up in the 1960s during the liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial domination.’
      • ‘He abandoned his studies in 1930 and joined the freedom struggle.’
      • ‘Our lives are an eternal struggle between opposing forces.’
      • ‘It marked the beginning of what has turned out to be a protracted political struggle.’
      • ‘But it is not clear whether the ongoing political struggles are shadow boxing or part of a real contest.’
      • ‘His heroes were all engaged in titanic struggles for survival, with defeat always a possibility.’
      • ‘With little room for compromise the stage is set for a bitter internal factional struggle.’
      • ‘The defence of democratic rights is inseparably bound up with the struggle for socialism.’
      • ‘The sad truth is that the man who vows to continue the armed struggle is likely to prevail.’
      conflict, fight, battle, armed conflict, combat, confrontation, clash, skirmish, encounter, engagement
      contest, competition, battle, fight, clash, feud
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    2. 1.2 A determined effort under difficulties.
      ‘the center is the result of the scientists' struggle to realize their dream’
      • ‘This would, however, require a determined struggle, relying on Senate filibusters and similar tactics.’
      • ‘We might feel ambivalent about picking up a book about a woman's struggle with breast cancer.’
      • ‘Socialists who stressed the struggle of the poor, like the poet Attila József, were a minority voice.’
      • ‘Social reforms alongside a determined struggle for liberation will lead us towards democracy and independence.’
      • ‘We acknowledge the support of the Australian people, and other countries, in our struggle for self-determination.’
      • ‘Thus, the fight against sweatshops is defined in this context as a struggle for physical improvement of workplaces.’
      • ‘Chavez, who led the struggle for social justice for migrant farm workers, died in 1993.’
      • ‘We never once see any internal struggle in his physically compromised position.’
      • ‘But on a deeper level they meant to frame labor's struggle as an effort to secure human rights.’
      • ‘You're surely not suggesting that women should abandon their struggle for equality to stay home and mix formula instead?’
      • ‘The panelists urged the youth to continue the struggle for equality and justice.’
      • ‘People were largely caught up in the desperate daily struggle for survival.’
      • ‘Theirs is a just struggle to free their country from tyranny.’
      • ‘For the past 50 years, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people have embarked on a non-violent struggle to free Tibet from its oppressors.’
      • ‘In contrast, deported refugees face a struggle for their very existence.’
      • ‘Consequently, the struggles for self-determination took various forms as independence to greater autonomy.’
      • ‘Over 200 child labourers from 55 countries gathered to share experiences of their struggle to create a free world for children.’
      • ‘Pushing through the proposed reforms has been an uphill struggle from the start.’
      • ‘At the same time, their determined struggle against adversity is a source of inspiration for all of us.’
      • ‘The advent of the female birth control pill greatly aided women's struggle for autonomy and fulfillment.’
      • ‘It's a daily struggle for not only physical survival, but mental endurance and a lingering hope that their story will be heard.’
      endeavour, striving, effort, exertion, labour, work, toiling, pains
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A very difficult task.
      ‘it was a struggle to make herself understood’
      • ‘And becoming good moreover requires a difficult struggle for self-mastery, just like any form of training.’
      • ‘We heard of the struggle of the pastoral counselor, poorly equipped for the task at hand, and yet pushed to provide more pastoral care.’
      • ‘It's a factor that Martel will almost certainly have to contend with in the future, a struggle almost as difficult as that facing Alonso.’
      • ‘I think it's going to be a difficult struggle, definitely.’
      • ‘And such struggles become difficult if not impossible when workers do not have a minimum security of tenure.’
      • ‘It was a difficult struggle, but she managed to hold it in.’
      • ‘And, the only certainty in this journey is that this will be our most difficult of struggles.’
      • ‘It has been a difficult struggle for a group which began life without two farthings to rub together.’
      • ‘The show is littered with these moments as human interacts with apparatus in a physical struggle.’
      effort, labour, problem, trial, trouble, stress, strain, bother, battle
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Phrases

  • the struggle for existence (or life)

    • The competition between organisms, especially as an element in natural selection, or between people seeking a livelihood.

      • ‘Carroll's crocodile, all tooth and claw, signifies other things: amorality, the struggle for existence, predation of the weaker by the stronger.’
      • ‘By the time of his death in 2001 at age 12, he had become, in Nelson Mandela's words, ‘an icon of the struggle for life.’’
      • ‘They lost out in the struggle for existence and produced no offspring.’
      • ‘Life in one form or another is very plentiful in the pack, and the struggle for existence here as elsewhere is a fascinating subject of study.’
      • ‘The assurance of gain, or the expectation of it in the future, is the rallying point in the struggle for existence.’
      • ‘Slowly however, her senses were beginning to stray from her and Sydney was finding it increasingly difficult to win the struggle for life.’
      • ‘Indeed, ‘in the struggle for life, a taste for truth is a luxury’, even a ‘disability’.’
      • ‘Once again the magic words ‘natural selection’ do not appear, but the struggle for existence with the stronger winning is very clear.’
      • ‘Nature, in Darwin's view, did the same thing through the struggle for existence: he called it ‘natural selection.’’
      • ‘War was natural among humans because it was an instance of the struggle for existence.’

Origin

Late Middle English: frequentative, perhaps of imitative origin. The noun dates from the late 17th century.

Pronunciation

struggle

/ˈstrəɡəl//ˈstrəɡəl/