Share this entry
struggle Syllabification: strug·gle
Pronunciation: /ˈstrəɡəl/

Definition of struggle in English:


[no object]
1Make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction: before she could struggle, he lifted her up [with infinitive]: he struggled to break free
More example sentences
  • Alarmed, Darlene lurched forward, struggling to break free, but it was no use.
  • Kicking and thrashing, Jennifer desperately struggled to break free.
  • He struggled to break free, and the pair stumbled across the room and up against the bureau.
1.1Strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance: [with infinitive]: many families struggle to make ends meet new authors are struggling in the present climate
More example sentences
  • Most of their batsmen are still struggling to cope with the New Zealand pace attack.
  • He was struggling mightily at the plate in the play-offs and appeared out of sorts.
  • The US $183 million Yankees are struggling mightily at the plate, leaving their fans restless.
strive, try hard, endeavor, make every effort, do one's best/utmost, bend over backward(s), put oneself out
informal go all out, give it one's best shot
formal essay
1.2 (struggle with) Have difficulty handling or coping with: passengers struggle with bags and briefcases
More example sentences
  • In light of this, it was a shame to learn that the resort is struggling with financial difficulties.
  • Nevertheless, even she struggled with some of the difficulties posed by the system.
  • She struggled with the handle before swinging the door open, diving in and slamming it shut again.
1.3Engage in conflict: politicians continued to struggle over familiar issues
More example sentences
  • This shift in rodeo queen criteria did not sit well with women who struggled to continue competing in rodeo.
  • Mass marketers continue to struggle against thick competition from department store and specialty brands.
  • Retailers continuing to struggle amidst intense competition, a slowing economy and low inflation.
1.4Make one’s way with difficulty: he struggled to the summit of the world’s highest mountain
scramble, flounder, stumble, fight/battle one's way, labor


Back to top  
1A forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.
Example sentences
  • Ambulance chiefs today condemned a teenager who assaulted a senior paramedic and a policeman during a violent struggle in York.
  • In a violent struggle, Bourgass stabbed police officer Stephen Oake to death and wounded three others as he tried to escape.
  • America's wars and violent struggles are always fought with goals of preventing future terror attacks and saving lives.
fight, scuffle, brawl, tussle, wrestling bout, skirmish, fracas, melee;
informal scrap
1.1A conflict or contest: a power struggle for the leadership with a struggle, she pulled the stroller up the slope
More example sentences
  • With little room for compromise the stage is set for a bitter internal factional struggle.
  • The sad truth is that the man who vows to continue the armed struggle is likely to prevail.
  • His heroes were all engaged in titanic struggles for survival, with defeat always a possibility.
contest, competition, fight, clash;
rivalry, friction, feuding, conflict, tug-of-war, turf war
1.2A determined effort under difficulties: the center is the result of the scientists' struggle to realize their dream
More example sentences
  • At the same time, their determined struggle against adversity is a source of inspiration for all of us.
  • This would, however, require a determined struggle, relying on Senate filibusters and similar tactics.
  • Social reforms alongside a determined struggle for liberation will lead us towards democracy and independence.
endeavor, striving, effort, exertion, labor;
campaign, battle, crusade, drive, push
1.3A very difficult task: it was a struggle to make herself understood
More example sentences
  • And such struggles become difficult if not impossible when workers do not have a minimum security of tenure.
  • I think it's going to be a difficult struggle, definitely.
  • It has been a difficult struggle for a group which began life without two farthings to rub together.
effort, trial, trouble, stress, strain, battle
informal grind, hassle


the struggle for existence (or life)
The competition between organisms, especially as an element in natural selection, or between people seeking a livelihood.
Example sentences
  • War was natural among humans because it was an instance of the struggle for existence.
  • Nature, in Darwin's view, did the same thing through the struggle for existence: he called it ‘natural selection.’
  • Once again the magic words ‘natural selection’ do not appear, but the struggle for existence with the stronger winning is very clear.


Pronunciation: /ˈstrəɡ(ə)lər/
Example sentences
  • Dunnington improved their survival chances after beating fellow strugglers Huntington 6-3.
  • Goole find themselves back in the danger zone after their 2-0 defeat by fellow strugglers Glasshoughton.
  • The old cliche, ‘a game of two halves,’ describes this one between Bury and strugglers Blackpool perfectly.


Late Middle English: frequentative, perhaps of imitative origin. The noun dates from the late 17th century.

Words that rhyme with struggle

juggle, smuggle, snuggle
Definition of struggle in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources