Definition of tussle in US English:



  • A vigorous struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something.

    ‘there was a tussle for the ball’
    • ‘The game progressed with players pushing vigorously to outdo each other in a tussle for ball possession.’
    • ‘Already, legal tussles have overshadowed the prospects of a better future for this prestigious venture taken up by the Society.’
    • ‘As the match progressed the tussle for a goal advantage continued but Pioneers were content with a well deserved draw.’
    • ‘A man who tried to stop a thief from making off with a stolen digital projector sustained cuts and bruises to his head when he was knocked down in a tussle.’
    • ‘The rest of the programme gets underway this week with some interesting tussles likely judging by the early pre-season form of some of the players in various tournaments and competitions.’
    • ‘He believed the linesman misinterpreted what was an innocent entanglement after a tussle for the ball.’
    • ‘His work is worth reflecting on, given the current political significance of the Murray River - thanks to on-going tussles over state rights, salinity and environmental degradation.’
    • ‘Real connoisseurs of Cold War sporting tussles treasure the memory of the USSR beating the USA in the 1972 basketball final.’
    • ‘Ready for launch over two months ago, the opening was put off due to the ongoing tussle in the local film industry.’
    • ‘In a sign of things to come, there were a few clashes at half time, when the occasional tussle flamed up in the tunnel to the dressing rooms.’
    • ‘Almost anonymous in the tussle between the two Australians, was the battle for bronze.’
    • ‘There ensued one of those friendly tussles, not quite fights, that kids find such fun.’
    • ‘They had won the seemingly impossible battle without even a tussle.’
    • ‘Sunday's match was a thriller from the start of play as opposing teams engaged in a valiant tussle for ball possession.’
    • ‘It would be fair to say we had a good few tussles.’
    • ‘The fraught standoff in the Ukraine is less the result of an internal dispute, than of a geopolitical tussle between East and West.’
    • ‘Out of all the fights, all the scuffles and tussles, this was the only one that mattered.’
    • ‘Bad management, business naivete, and outright trickery resulted in years of legal tussles and lost revenue.’
    • ‘The Italian charging process is not the same as in Britain and it is unclear whether the move would lead to further legal tussles and delays to British attempts to extradite him.’
    • ‘From early on, it was apparent that it was going to be a game of tussles and the side which benefited most from the dead ball would finish victorious.’
    scuffle, fight, struggle, skirmish, brawl, scrimmage, scramble, scrum, fisticuffs, wrestling match, rough and tumble, free-for-all, fracas, fray, rumpus, melee, disturbance
    argument, quarrel, squabble, contretemps, disagreement, contention, clash, war of words
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[no object]
  • Engage in a vigorous struggle or scuffle.

    ‘the demonstrators tussled with police’
    • ‘Macedonian and ethnic Albanian politicians tussled over future policing at talks yesterday as the government and rebels accused each other of violating a truce.’
    • ‘The Czech Republic slipped into second while Australia, Ireland and Austria tussled for third.’
    • ‘Blood dripped from somewhere - neither of them knew where - onto the floor and drops of it flew like sparks from a fire as the two tussled fiercely.’
    • ‘As Canada continued to lead and Australia and Germany tussled, a new challenge was developing over in lane 5.’
    • ‘The jockeying of the past few months, as they tussled over the top job and sized each other across the Cabinet table, was only the last act of rift that had opened up over many years.’
    • ‘He got a black eye tussling under the boards with Shaquille O'Neal in a rousing win against the Lakers, snapping Los Angeles' 19-game winning streak.’
    • ‘Later, show host Miller said he had feared there would be injuries as the two men tussled.’
    • ‘Recent fears that something between the gangs was brewing came to light about a month ago when associates of the opposing gangs tussled in central Rotorua.’
    • ‘A Tullow woman tussled violently with her attackers as they attempted to steal her handbag before they dragged her along the road until she smacked her head off a lamp-post.’
    • ‘With muffled thuds and a yelp, Ace and the thief tussled on the floor.’
    • ‘With both chip makers already tussling for those all-important hard-to-see-on-TV car-component sponsorship spaces, they are now attempting to outdo each other in the car design arena.’
    • ‘But despite his injuries, he tussled with the man for several minutes before finally letting him out of his shop when he threatened to kill him.’
    • ‘They tussled on the floor, an oddly muted fight as they were both trying to shield the book from damage.’
    • ‘They tussled in the dirt for a while, Pyre reckoned she was winning.’
    • ‘Behind them Great Britain, Ukraine and the Netherlands tussled for the final two spots.’
    • ‘Boys tussled in the branches above her, shaking leaves down upon her.’
    • ‘The only thing that surprised me bearing in mind the previous night's tales was that I couldn't hear the wildlife crashing around in the trees as they tussled for a vantage point from which to ambush me.’
    • ‘In heat two, Poland and the Czech Republic tussled for the top spot.’
    • ‘For most of the last century musicians, conductors and scholars have tussled over the best way to deal with the sketches Mahler left behind when he died in 1910.’
    • ‘They tussled and screamed right in the middle of the cafeteria, everyone was completely silent.’
    scuffle, fight, struggle, exchange blows, come to blows, brawl, grapple, wrestle, clash, scrimmage
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Late Middle English (as a verb, originally Scots and northern English): perhaps a diminutive of dialect touse ‘handle roughly’ (see tousle).