American English

Definition of fight verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they fight
    he / she / it fights
    past simple fought
    -ing form fighting
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    in war/battle
  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to take part in a war or battle against an enemy soldiers trained to fight He fought in Vietnam. fight against somebody My grandfather fought against them in World War II. fight somebody/something to fight a war/battle They gathered soldiers to fight the invading army. Topic CollocationsWar and Peacestarting a war declare/wage war (on somebody/something) go to war (against/with somebody) cause/spark/provoke/foment/quell unrest incite/lead/crush/suppress a revolt/rebellion launch/mount/carry out a surprise/terrorist attack prevent/halt/represent an escalation of the conflict be torn apart by/be on the brink of civil war enter/invade/occupy somebody's territory lead/launch/resist/repel an invasionmilitary operations adopt/develop/implement/pursue a military strategy carry out/execute/perform military operations/maneuvers send/deploy/station/pull back/withdraw troops go on/fly/carry out a reconnaissance/rescue mission train/equip/deploy army/military/combat units lead/launch/conduct an (air/airborne/amphibious) attack/a surprise attack (on somebody); an assault/a raid (on somebody) employ/use guerrilla tactics conduct/wage biological/guerrilla warfare fight/crush/defeat the rebels/the insurgency suffer/inflict a crushing defeat achieve/win a decisive victory halt/stop the American/German advance order/force a retreatfighting join/serve in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard/reserves be/go/remain/serve on active duty do/complete/return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/strike/engage/defeat/kill/destroy the enemy witness/see/report/be engaged in heavy fighting call for/be met with armed resistance come under heavy/machine-gun/mortar fire fire a machine gun/mortar shells/rockets (at somebody/something) shoot a rifle/a pistol/bullets/missiles launch/fire a(n) cruise/ballistic/anti-tank missile use biological/chemical/nuclear weapons inflict/suffer/sustain heavy losses/casualties be hit/killed by enemy/friendly/artillery fire become/be held as/be taken as a prisoner of warcivilians in war harm/kill/target/protect innocent/unarmed civilians cause/avoid/limit/minimize civilian casualties/collateral damage impose/enforce/lift a curfew engage in/be a victim of ethnic cleansing be sent to a concentration/an internment camp accept/house/resettle/turn away refugees fleeing from war fear/threaten military/violent reprisals commit/be accused of war crimes/crimes against humanity/genocidemaking peace make/bring/win/achieve/maintain/promote peace call for/negotiate/broker/declare a ceasefire/a temporary truce sign a ceasefire agreement call for/bring/put an end to hostilities demand/negotiate/accept the surrender of somebody/something establish/send (in) a peacekeeping force negotiate/conclude/ratify/sign/accept/reject/break/violate a peace treaty
  2. struggle/hit
  3. 2[intransitive, transitive] fight (somebody) to struggle physically with someone My little brothers are always fighting.
  4. argue
  5. 3[intransitive] fight (with somebody) (about/over something) to have an argument with someone about something It's a trivial matter and not worth fighting about. I remember lying in bed listening to my parents fighting.
  6. oppose
  7. 4[transitive, intransitive] fight (something) to try hard to stop, deal with, or oppose something bad to fight racism/corruption/poverty, etc. Workers are fighting the decision to close the factory. The fire crews had problems fighting the blaze. He fought a long battle with cancer. We will fight for as long as it takes.
  8. try to get/do something
  9. 5[intransitive, transitive] to try very hard to get something or to achieve something fight (for something) He's still fighting for compensation after the accident. fight your way… She gradually fought her way to the top of the company. fight to do something Doctors fought for more than six hours to save his life. She'll fight like a tiger to protect her children. Thesauruscampaignbattle struggle drive war fightThese are all words for an effort made to achieve or prevent something.campaign a series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial, or political aim:the campaign for health care reform an advertising campaignbattle a competition or argument between people or groups of people trying to win power or control:She finally won her legal battle. the endless battle between man and naturestruggle a competition or argument between people or groups of people trying to win power or control:the struggle for independence the struggle between good and evilbattle or struggle?These words are very similar and in many cases you can use either word. However, battle often refers to a shorter, more direct fight. A struggle may be a longer fight against powerful forces instead of individuals or one particular problem:the battle for the Republican nomination her long struggle for recognitiondrive an organized effort by a group of people to achieve something:the drive for success a drive to reduce energy consumption a major fund drivecampaign or drive?A campaign is usually an attempt to get other people to do something, that takes place over a period of time; a drive may be a shorter or more local effort. A campaign may be larger, more formal, and more organized than a drive.war [sing.] an effort over a long period of time to get rid of or stop something bad:the war against povertyfight [sing.] the work of trying to stop or prevent something bad or achieve something good; an act of competing, especially in a sport:Workers won their fight for better benefits and higher pay.war or fight?A war is about stopping things, like drugs and crime, that everyone agrees are bad. A fight can be about achieving justice for yourself.Patterns a campaign/battle/struggle/drive/war/fight against something a campaign/battle/struggle/drive/fight for something a one-man/one-woman/personal campaign/battle/struggle/war a bitter campaign/battle/struggle/drive/war/fight to launch/embark on a campaign/battle/drive to lead/continue the campaign/battle/struggle/drive/fight to win/lose a battle/struggle/war/fight
  10. in contest
  11. 6[intransitive, transitive] to take part in a contest against someone fight for something She's fighting for a place on the national team. fight somebody/something It was a hard-fought presidential compaign.
  12. in boxing
  13. 7[intransitive, transitive] fight (somebody) to take part in a boxing match Doctors fear he may never fight again.
  14. law
  15. 8[transitive, intransitive] to try to get what you want in court fight (somebody) for something He fought his wife for custody of the children. fight something I'm determined to fight the case.
    noun [uncountable] Fighting broke out in three areas of the city last night. outbreaks of street fighting prize fighting (= fighting in boxing matches for money)
  17. Idioms
    fight fire with fire
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    to use similar methods in a fight or an argument to those your opponent is using
    fight for (your) life
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    to make a great effort to stay alive, especially when you are badly injured or seriously ill A young cyclist is fighting for his life after the accident.
    a fighting chance
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    a small chance of being successful if a great effort is made We still have a fighting chance of beating them and winning the tournament. If you win this round then you still have a fighting chance.
    fighting spirit
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    a feeling that you are ready to fight very hard for something or to try something difficult
    fighting words
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    angry words that insult or challenge someone
    fight like cats and dogs
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    to argue in a very angry way, especially regularly over a period of time We fought like cats and dogs when we were younger.
    fight a losing battle
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    to try to do something that you will probably never succeed in doing I'm fighting a losing battle against the mess in this house!
    fight your own battles
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    to be able to win an argument or get what you want without anyone's help I wouldn't get involved—he's old enough to fight his own battles.
    fight to the death/finish
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    to fight until one of the two people or groups is dead, or until one person or group defeats the other
    fight tooth and nail
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    to fight in a very determined way for what you want The residents are fighting tooth and nail to stop the new development.
    live to fight/see another day (saying)
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    used to say that although you have failed or had a bad experience, you will continue
    live to fight/see another day (saying)
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    used to say that although you have failed or had a bad experience, you will continue
    Phrasal Verbsfight back (against somebody/something)fight somethingbackfight somebody/somethingofffight out something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fight