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combat Line breaks: com¦bat
Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmbat/

Definition of combat in English:


[mass noun]
1Fighting between armed forces: five Hurricanes were shot down in combat [count noun]: pilots re-enacted the aerial combats of yesteryear [as modifier]: a combat zone
More example sentences
  • All four of his sons fought in combat in World War I and his daughter served as a Red Cross nurse in France.
  • Nothing about aerial combats in the area could be found in naval archives or period newspapers, but pilots who had once flown with the 367 Fighter Group contacted the divers on the Internet when news of the find emerged.
  • One might criticize this volume for its overwhelming focus on the sharp end of individual aerial combats and its near-total neglect of many other facets of the air war on the eastern front.

verb (combats, combating or combatting, combated or combatted)

[with object] Back to top  
1Take action to reduce or prevent (something bad or undesirable): an effort to combat drug trafficking
More example sentences
  • At the top level, however, the sides chose to emphasize closer cooperation in combating crime and drug trafficking.
  • The charity is working to combat poverty, reduce isolation, defeat ageism and to promote quality in care.
  • He saw custody as the only way of combating the drug problem.
fight, battle against, do battle with, wage war against, take up arms against, strive against, contend with, tackle, attack, counter, oppose, resist, withstand, stand up to, face up to, make a stand against, put up a fight against, confront, defy;
stop, halt, put an end to, prevent, check, stem, curb
1.1 archaic Engage in a fight with; oppose in battle: he hath no more antagonists to combat [no object]: your men combated against the first of ours
More example sentences
  • The younger warrior with him jumped off his horse to bravely combat the enemy, but the enemy was better then him.
  • He was determined to combat whatever foe had arrived to harm the infant princess.


Mid 16th century (originally denoting a fight between two people or parties): from French combattre (verb), from late Latin combattere, from com- 'together with' + battere, variant of Latin batuere 'to fight'.

  • battle from Middle English:

    Along with battalion (late 16th century), batter (Middle English), and battery, the word battle goes back through French to Latin battuere ‘to strike, beat’, also found in combat (mid 16th century) ‘fight together’. Battle appears in many phrases. We say that we are fighting a losing battle when a struggle is bound to end in failure, or that something that contributes to success is half the battle. A fiercely contested fight or dispute is a battle royal, which was originally a fight with several combatants.

Words that rhyme with combat


Definition of combat in:

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