Definition of fight in English:

fight

Line breaks: fight
Pronunciation: /fʌɪt
 
/

verb (past and past participle fought /fɔːt/)

1 [no object] Take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons: the men were fighting protesters fought with police Cameron fought back as hard as he could
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.
Synonyms
brawl, come to blows, exchange blows, attack/assault each other, hit/punch each other; box; struggle, grapple, wrestle, scrimmage; do battle, engage in conflict, contend; spar, joust, tilt, cross swords, lock horns, lock antlers
informal scrap, have a dust-up, have a set-to
British informal have a punch-up
Scottish informal swedge
North American informal roughhouse
Australian/New Zealand informal stoush, go the knuckle
violent, combative, aggressive, pugnacious, truculent, belligerent, bellicose, disputatious, antagonistic, argumentative, hawkish
1.1Engage in a war or battle: those who had fought for King and country [with object]: the country is still fighting a civil war
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.
Synonyms
battle, do battle, give battle, wage war, go to war, make war, take up arms; attack, mount an attack; combat, engage, meet, clash, skirmish; be a soldier, fight for Queen/King and country; crusadeengage in, wage, conduct, prosecute, carry on, pursue, undertake, practise, proceed with, go on with
1.2 [with object] archaic Command, manage, or manoeuvre (troops, a ship, or military equipment) in battle: General Hill fights his troops well
More example sentences
  • He fights his vessel well.
1.3Quarrel or argue: 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.
Synonyms
quarrel, argue, row, bicker, squabble, have a row/fight, wrangle, dispute, be at odds, disagree, fail to agree, differ, be at variance, have words, bandy words, be at each other's throfats, be at loggerheads; battle, feud
informal fall out, scrap, go at it hammer and tongs, fight like cat and dog, argufy
Scottish archaic threap
1.4 [with object] Take part in a boxing match against (an opponent): McCracken will fight Sheffield’s Martin Smith
More 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.
2 [with object] Struggle to overcome, eliminate, or prevent: a churchman who has dedicated his life to fighting racism the company intends to fight the decision
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.
Synonyms
oppose, contest, contend with, confront, challenge, combat, dispute, object to, quarrel with, argue against/with; withstand, resist, defy, fly in the face of; strive/struggle against, take a stand against, put up a fight against, stand up and be countecatd against, take issue with, question
rare controvert
2.1 [no object] Strive to achieve or do something: I will fight for a fairer society for several days, doctors fought to save his life
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.
Synonyms
campaign, strive, battle, struggle, contend, grapple, war, crusade, agitate; speak, lobby; work, push, presschampion, promote, advocate, plead for, defend, protect, uphold, support, back, espouse, stand up for, campaign for, lobby for, battle for, crusade for, take up the cudgels for
2.2Endeavour vigorously to win (an election or other contest).
More 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.
2.3Attempt to repress (a feeling or its expression): 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.
Synonyms
repress, restrain, suppress, stifle, smother, hold back, keep back, fight back, keep in check, check, curb, contain, control, keep under control, rein in, silence, muffle, bottle up, choke back, swallow, strangle, gagrepress, restrain, suppress, stifle, smother, hold back, keep back, keep in check, check, curb, contain, control, keep under control, rein in, silence, muffle, bottle up, choke back, swallow, strangle, gag
2.4 (fight one's way) Move forward with difficulty, especially by pushing through a crowd: 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.

noun

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1A violent confrontation or struggle: he’d got into a fight with some bouncers outside a club
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.
Synonyms
brawl, fracas, melee, row, rumpus, confrontation, skirmish, sparring match, exchange, struggle, tussle, scuffle, altercation, wrangle, scrum, clash, disturbance; fisticuffs, rough and tumble; Irish, North American, & Australiandonnybrook
British informal punch-up, bust-up, ruck, bit of argy-bargy, barney
British informal , Footballafters
Scottish informal rammy, swedge, square go
North American informal roughhouse, brannigan
Australian/New Zealand informal stoush
Law, dated affray
rare broil, bagarre
1.1A boxing match.
More 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.
Synonyms
boxing match, bout, match, meeting, fixture, game, encounter
1.2A battle or war: Britain might have given up her fight against Germany
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.
Synonyms
1.3A vigorous struggle or campaign for or against something: their fight for control of the company 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.
Synonyms
struggle, battle, campaign, endeavour, drive, push, effort, movement, move
1.4An argument or quarrel: he’d had another fight with Katie
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.
Synonyms
1.5 [mass noun] The 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.
Synonyms
will to resist, power to resist, resistance, morale, spirit, courage, pluck, pluckiness, gameness, will to win, strength, backbone, spine, mettle, stout-heartedness, determination, firmness of purpose, resolution, resolve, resoluteness, confidence; aggression, aggressiveness, belligerence, militancy, boldness, audacity, forcefulness
informal guts, grit, spunk
British informal bottle
North American informal sand, moxie

Origin

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

Phrases

fight fire with fire

Use the weapons or tactics of one’s enemy or opponent, even if one finds them distasteful.
More 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 cat and dog

(Of two people) be continually arguing with one another: we fought like cat and dog the whole time we were together
More 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: the police are fighting a losing battle against a rising tide of crime
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: MacMillan has never fought shy of controversy
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.
Synonyms
flinch from, demur from, recoil from, hang back from; have scruples about, scruple about, have misgivings about, have qualms about, be averse to, be chary of, not be in favour of, be against, be opposed to, be diffident about, be bashful about, be shy about, be coy about; be loath to, scruple to, be reluctant to, be unwilling to, be disinclined to, not be in the mood to, be indisposed to, be slow to, be hesitant to, be afraid to, hesitate to, hate to, not like to, not have the heart to, drag one's feet/heels over, waver about, vacillate about, think twice about, baulk at, quail at, mind doing something
informal be cagey about, boggle at
archaic disrelish

make a fight of it

Put up a spirited show of resistance in a fight or contest: United 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.
More 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.
More 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.
Synonyms
retaliate, counterattack, strike back, hit back, reply, respond, react, reciprocate, return fire, give tit for tat, give as good as one gets, return the compliment, defend oneself, put up a fight, return like for like, get back at someone, give someone a dose/taste of their own medicine
formal requite something
archaic serve someone out, give someone a Roland for an Oliver

Phrasal verbs

fight someone/thing off

Defend oneself against an attack by someone or something: Candice fought her assailant off figurative 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.
Synonyms
repel, repulse, beat off, stave off, ward off, hold off, fend off, keep/hold at bay, drive away/back, force back, beat back, push back, resist

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