American English

Definition of battle noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] a fight between armies, ships, or planes, especially during a war; a violent fight between groups of people the battle of Gettysburg to be killed in battle a gun battle to go into battle see also pitched battle
  2. 2[countable] battle (with somebody) (for something) a competition, an argument, or a struggle between people or groups of people trying to win power or control a legal battle for compensation a battle with an insurance company a battle of wits (= when each side uses their ability to think quickly to try to win) a battle of wills (= when each side is very determined to win) the battle of the sexes the endless battle between man and nature 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
  3. 3[countable, usually singular] a determined effort that someone makes to solve a difficult problem or succeed in a difficult situation battle (against something) her long battle against cancer to fight an uphill battle against prejudice battle (for something) a battle for survival battle (with something) his battle with alcoholism
  4. Idioms
    the battle lines are drawn
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    used to say that people or groups have shown which side they intend to support in an argument or contest that is going to begin
    do battle (with somebody) (over something)
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    to fight or argue with someone He was prepared to do battle with his boss over his promotion.
    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!
    half the battle
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    the most important or difficult part of achieving something When you've got a difficult day ahead, getting a good night's sleep is often half the battle.
    join battle (with somebody) (formal)
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    to begin fighting someone (figurative) Residents have joined battle with the local government over the lack of parking facilities.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: battle