American English

Definition of fight noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a struggle against someone or something using physical force fight (with somebody/something) He got into a fight with a guy at the bar. I had a fight with the ticket machine, which was being difficult. a street/gang fight fight (between A and B) Afight broke out between rival groups of fans. a world title fight (= fighting as a sport)
  2. argument
  3. 2[countable] fight (with somebody) (over/about something) an argument about something Did you have a fight with him? We had a fight over money.
  4. trying to get/do something
  5. 3[singular] the work of trying to destroy, prevent, or achieve something fight (against something) the fight against crime fight (for something) a fight for survival fight (to do something) Workers won their fight to stop compulsory layoffs.
  6. competition
  7. 4[singular] a competition or an act of competing, especially in a sport The team put up a good fight (= they played well) but were finally beaten. She now has a fight on her hands (= will have to play very well) to make it through to the next round. 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
  8. battle/war
  9. 5[countable] a battle, especially for a particular place or position In the fight for control of Canada, the French were defeated.
  10. desire to fight
  11. 6[uncountable] the desire or ability to keep fighting for something In spite of many defeats, they still had plenty of fight left in them. Losing their leader took all the fight out of them.
  12. Thesaurusfightclash brawl struggle scuffleThese are all words for a situation in which people try to defeat each other using physical force.fight a situation in which two or more people try to defeat each other using physical force:He got into a fight with a man in the parking lot.clash (journalism) a short fight between two groups of people:Clashes broke out between police and demonstrators.brawl a noisy and violent fight involving a group of people, usually in a public place:a drunken brawl in a barstruggle a fight between two people or groups of people, especially when one of them is trying to escape, or to get something from the other:There were no signs of a struggle at the murder scene.scuffle a short and not very violent fight or struggle:He was involved in a scuffle with a photographer.Patterns a fight/clash/brawl/struggle/scuffle over something in a fight/brawl/struggle/scuffle a violent fight/clash/struggle to be in/get into/be involved in a fight/clash/brawl/scuffle a fight/clash/brawl/scuffle breaks outIdioms
    be spoiling for a fight
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    to want to fight with someone very much
    a fight to the finish
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    a sports competition, an election, etc. between sides that are so equal in ability that they continue fighting very hard until the end The contenders are bitter rivals in what will be a fight to the finish.
    pick a fight/quarrel (with somebody)
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    to deliberately start a fight or an argument with someone He drank too much and was ready to pick a fight with anyone who crossed his path.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fight