Definition of struggle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstrʌɡ(ə)l/


[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.
fight, grapple, wrestle, scuffle, brawl, spar, exchange blows, come to blows
informal scrap
Scottish informal swedge
1.1Engage 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.
compete, contend, contest, vie, fight, battle, clash, wrangle, jockey, lock horns, cross swords, war, wage war, feud
1.2Strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance: new authors are struggling in the present climate many families on income support have to struggle to make ends meet (as adjective struggling) a struggling team
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, endeavour, make every effort, spare no effort, exert oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, battle, labour, toil, strain, bend over backwards, put oneself out
informal go all out, give it one's best shot, put one's back into it, plug away, peg away
British informal graft
formal essay
1.3 (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.
1.4 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Make one’s way with difficulty: it took us all day to struggle back to our bivouac
scramble, flounder, stumble;
make one's way with difficulty, drag oneself, fight/battle one's way, battle, labour


1A forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack: there were signs of a struggle and there was a lot of blood around
More 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 match, sparring match, wrestling bout, bout, skirmish, fracas, melee, affray, encounter, disturbance, breach of the peace
informal scrap, barney, set-to, dust-up, punch-up, ruction, free-for-all, argy-bargy
British informal bust-up, ding-dong
Scottish informal swedge
1.1A conflict or contest: a power struggle for the leadership
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.
conflict, fight, battle, armed conflict, combat, confrontation, clash, skirmish, encounter, engagement;
hostilities, fighting, war, warfare, campaign, crusade
contest, competition, battle, fight, clash, feud;
contention, vying, rivalry, strife, friction, feuding, conflict
1.2A determined effort under difficulties: with a struggle, she pulled the pram up the slope the centre 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.
endeavour, striving, effort, exertion, labour, work, toiling, pains;
campaign, battle, crusade, drive, push, movement
British informal graft
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, labour, problem, trial, trouble, stress, strain, bother, battle
informal grind, hassle, pain


the struggle for existence (or life)

The competition between organisms, especially as an element in natural selection, or between people seeking a livelihood: every adaptation had to offer an advantage to the organism in the struggle for existence
More 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: /ˈstrʌɡ(ə)lə/
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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: strug¦gle

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