Definition of fight in English:

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Pronunciation: /fīt/

verb (past and past participle fought /fôt/)

[no object]
1Take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons: the men were fighting they fight with other children
More example sentences
  • A study found that girls as young as 13 are smoking, swearing, fighting, drinking and disrupting lessons in ever higher numbers.
  • Her personal bodyguards fought valiantly to keep by her side.
  • Needless to say, I struggled and fought like hell the whole damn way.
brawl, exchange blows, attack each other, assault each other, hit each other, punch each other;
struggle, grapple, wrestle
informal scrap, have a set-to, roughhouse, engage in fisticuffs
violent, combative, aggressive, pugnacious, truculent, belligerent, bellicose, scrappy
1.1 [with object] Engage in (a war or battle): there was another war to fight
More example sentences
  • He returns to battle and fights, pushing ever closer to the walls of the city.
  • The people of Arnhem yesterday welcomed back the old soldiers who fought so bravely to free them 60 years ago.
  • People come and go, epochs change, battles are fought, wars won and lost, but India exists.
(do) battle, go to war, take up arms, be a soldier;
engage, meet, clash, skirmish
engage in, wage, conduct, prosecute, undertake
1.2 [no object]: we fought and died for this country
1.3Quarrel or argue: she didn’t want to fight with her mother all the time they were fighting over who pays the bill
More example sentences
  • They have been fighting over custody issues for an epic two years.
  • Does your child hear you talking about troubles at work or fighting with your spouse about financial matters?
  • George I and his son shared a deep mutual dislike for each other, were political opposites, and fought constantly.
quarrel, argue, bicker, squabble, fall out, have a fight, have a row, wrangle, be at odds, disagree, differ, have words, bandy words, be at each other's throats, be at loggerheads
informal scrap
1.4 [with object] Struggle to put out (a fire, especially a large one): two fire trucks raced to the scene to fight the blaze
1.5 [with object] Endeavor vigorously to win (an election or other contest).
Example sentences
  • The pundits tell us that this entire election was fought over a difference of opinion about how to spend 2% of our GDP.
  • It is a contest being fought by e-mail, direct mail and telephone, alongside the traditional door knock.
  • A close contest was fought with the American Lisa Raymond on Court 18.
1.6Campaign determinedly for or against something, especially to put right what one considers unfair or unjust: I will fight for more equitable laws
More example sentences
  • Their crime was to form a union of agricultural labourers to fight for better wages and conditions.
  • It goes to show what we pensioners can achieve if we stand up and fight for our rights.
  • A group of Kingston doctors has united to fight for the return of the family doctor.
campaign, strive, battle, struggle, contend, crusade, agitate, lobby, push, press
1.7 [with object] Struggle or campaign against (something): the best way to fight fascism abroad and racism at home
More example sentences
  • The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to expand the government's powers to fight terrorism.
  • Why do we fight even what we know to be in our own vital interests?
  • Forty fire trucks and 440 firefighters valiantly fought the blaze for three hours.
oppose, contest, contend with, confront, challenge, combat, dispute, quarrel with, argue against/with, strive against, struggle against
1.8 [with object] Attempt to repress (a feeling or an expression of a feeling): she had to fight back tears of frustration
More example sentences
  • Tara crossed her arms over her chest, fighting the feeling of defensiveness she got whenever he spoke to her like that.
  • The customer turned towards the door, and she once again fought the urge to hide.
  • He fought hard the urge to look around at all the people, the shouting, the screaming.
repress, restrain, suppress, stifle, smother, hold back, fight back, keep in check, curb, control, rein in, choke back
informal keep the lid on
1.9 [with object] Take part in a boxing match against (an opponent).
Example sentences
  • When he fought Corrales, he fought a very good fighter who was fighting the best fight of his life.
  • Young, like Byrd, fought some monster heavyweights as well.
  • Following four comeback fights, he was in position to fight new champion Evander Holyfield.
1.10 (fight one's way) Move forward with difficulty, especially by pushing through a crowd or overcoming physical obstacles: she watched him fight his way across the room
More example sentences
  • You fought your way through the crowds to get it, just for this moment.
  • After the group finished their set, my friends and I fought our way through the crowd to catch another band on the main stage.
  • We fought our way - and we mean fought our way - through the crowd waiting to get into the Evanescence show.
1.11 [with object] archaic Command, manage, or maneuver (troops, a ship, or military equipment) in battle: General Hill fights his troops well
More example sentences
  • He fights his vessel well.


1A violent confrontation or struggle: we’ll get into a fight and wind up with bloody noses
More example sentences
  • Her right arm is in bandages after she got into a fight at a nightclub with a crazed fan.
  • Another time everything was going fine in America until he got into a fight with a Columbian man and once more was deported.
  • Somewhere between Colorado and New Mexico he got into a fight with an irate florist.
brawl, fracas, melee, rumpus, skirmish, sparring match, struggle, scuffle, altercation, clash, disturbance;
informal scrap, set-to, donnybrook
1.1A boxing match.
Example sentences
  • This was his last hurrah but even today, he still stays in the boxing games by refereeing fights in Ohio.
  • This year will also witness the last fights of boxing legend Lennox Lewis.
  • The only time he was ever shook or stopped were in his fights with Holmes and Tyson.
boxing match, bout, match
1.2A battle or war: the country was not eager for a fight with the US
More example sentences
  • Every combatant there went into the arena in full battle gear for a fight to death or surrender.
  • There were casualties in wars, battles, fights; He knew and understood this.
  • The two shared their ideas on battles and fights and the results came up with a quite an interesting effect.
battle, engagement, clash, conflict, struggle;
war, campaign, crusade, action, hostilities
1.3A vigorous struggle or campaign for or against something: a long fight against cancer
More example sentences
  • A mother dying from cancer has lost her fight for life and the chance to see her imprisoned son for the first time in three years.
  • The only way to make them say yes is to collect the people in a movement that is seen as a fight for the basic rights of individuals.
  • But Mr Aldred said he will never give up in his fight for justice.
struggle, battle, campaign, push, effort
1.4An argument or quarrel: she had a fight with her husband
More example sentences
  • And, you know, like any normal couple, we have our fights and arguments and disagreements.
  • In the future, fights and disagreements between husbands and wives will simply result in the immediate end of their marriages.
  • There were no fights, no arguments, nothing of the sort.
argument, quarrel, squabble, row, wrangle, disagreement, falling-out, contretemps, altercation, dispute
informal tiff, spat, scrap, cat fight, blowup
vulgar slang shitstorm
1.5The inclination or ability to fight or struggle: Ginny felt the fight trickle out of her
More example sentences
  • By late October, they were being hailed for their spirit and fight.
  • I realised that I had no fight left in me, no strength left to challenge what was being said.
  • Alex praised us for our spirit and fight and he's got to take a lot of credit for the tactics he used.
will to resist, resistance, spirit, courage, pluck, pluckiness, grit, strength, backbone, determination, resolution, resolve, resoluteness, aggression, aggressiveness
informal guts, spunk, moxie



fight fire with fire

Use the weapons or tactics of one’s enemy or opponent, even if one finds them distasteful.
Example sentences
  • It is from there I adopted the tactic of fighting fire with fire - its the only thing these people understand.
  • And if the end result isn't exactly my idea of a civilized political discourse (I'll reserve judgement for now) it clearly is a powerful and successful example of fighting fire with fire.
  • ‘She has developed a coping mechanism of fighting back, fighting fire with fire,’ Mr Mott said.

fight like cats and dogs

(Of two people) be continually arguing with one another.
Example sentences
  • She had known them for some time now and had always known Amber and Jas to fight like cats and dogs.
  • When we drank together we fought like cats and dogs.
  • Their relationship was passionate and never dull, with great highs when their love seemed to overwhelm them and huge lows when they fought like cat and dog.

fight a losing battle

Be fated to fail in one’s efforts: he was fighting a losing battle to stem the tears
More example sentences
  • Unaided by the public, police would be fighting a losing battle against crime.
  • The final score does scant justice to the efforts of the players who never stopped trying despite fighting a losing battle for much of the game.
  • The police are fighting a losing battle, and they know this, which is why you are unlikely to be arrested for small amounts.

fight shy of

Be unwilling to undertake or become involved with: these musicians fight shy of change
More example sentences
  • The federal government has traditionally fought shy of becoming involved in education, which is mainly dealt with at state level.
  • Labour has fought shy of scrapping the policy, since it is politically difficult to tinker with a long-standing deal under which tenants can buy their house at a discount of up to 70% after three years of occupation.
  • But apart from an occasional outburst on the cost of fuel, the parties have generally fought shy of saying how they will tackle the difficult and often expensive problems surrounding Britain's various systems of transport.

make a fight of it

Put up a spirited show of resistance in a fight or contest: the Chargers certainly made a fight of it in the second half
More example sentences
  • The question is whether Rudd and Gillard decide it's worth making a fight of it.
  • Michael Howard and his team must raise their game and make a fight of it.
  • Instead they trailed 22-0 but even then coach Lee Crooks held out hope they could make a fight of it in the second half.

fight or flight

The instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away.
Example sentences
  • I'm sure you've heard of fight or flight in a stressful situation.
  • Humans, like all animals, have an inborn stress alarm system that initiates a fight or flight response to stressful situations.
  • It's true, when you feel that your life might be in danger your natural instinct is fight or flight.

put up a fight

Offer resistance to an attack.
Example sentences
  • I have observed that more women, including domestic helpers, have now realized their rights and, therefore, are putting up a fight against discrimination and violence.
  • Chelsea must be shown they can't just take our best players without us putting up a fight.
  • I beat a hasty retreat without putting up a fight.
retaliate, counterattack, strike back, hit back, respond, reciprocate, return fire, give tit for tat

Phrasal verbs


fight back

Counterattack or retaliate in a fight, struggle, or contest.
Example sentences
  • If the assailant resists - fights back or counters - suddenly there is a muscle tussle, an awkward strength against strength encounter.
  • Fortunately Mr. Gergen composes himself and fights back!
  • But our Mr. Smith fights back, defeats the political bigwigs, and watches his leaders confess their errors.

fight it out

Settle a dispute by fighting or competing aggressively: they fought it out with a tug-of-war
More example sentences
  • They have won 14 medals, virtually fighting it out with hundreds of competitors across the country.
  • The first class was for chefs and caterers, with two competitors fighting it out to win the engraved frying pan and town council certificate.
  • This time, both sides are getting ready with lawyers and legal precedents to fight it out in the eventuality of a dispute.

fight someone/something off

Defend oneself against an attack by someone or something: well-fed people are better able to fight off infectious disease
More example sentences
  • A crowd watched High Chaparral, ridden by Murtagh, fight off a challenge from his stablemate in the 223rd running of the race.
  • I was too dazed to fight her off.
  • I then thought it was pointless trying to fight him off.


Old English feohtan (verb), feoht(e), gefeoht (noun); related to Dutch vechten, gevecht and German fechten, Gefecht.

Words that rhyme with fight

affright, alight, alright, aright, bedight, bight, bite, blight, bright, byte, cite, dight, Dwight, excite, flight, fright, goodnight, height, ignite, impolite, indict, indite, invite, kite, knight, light, lite, might, mite, night, nite, outfight, outright, plight, polite, quite, right, rite, sight, site, skintight, skite, sleight, slight, smite, Snow-white, spite, sprite, tight, tonight, trite, twite, underwrite, unite, uptight, white, wight, wright, write

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fight

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