Definition of struggle in English:

struggle

Line breaks: strug¦gle
Pronunciation: /ˈstrʌɡ(ə)l
 
/

verb

[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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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
Synonyms
scramble, flounder, stumble; make one's way with difficulty, drag oneself, fight/battle one's way, battle, labour

noun

Back to top  
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.
Synonyms
fight, scuffle, brawl, tussle, wrestling match, sparring match, wrestling bout, bout, skirmish, fracas, melee, affray, encounter, disturbance, breach of the peace
British informal bust-up, ding-dong
Scottish informal swedge
1.1A conflict or contest: a power struggle for the leadership
More example sentences
  • For Abbas, representations are always at the centre of power conflicts and expressive struggles.
  • Many on the left see moral arguments as a smokescreen over the real conflict - the struggle over who gets what.
  • It is these worlds they want to shape, these struggles they want to engage.
Synonyms
conflict, fight, battle, armed conflict, combat, confrontation, clash, skirmish, encounter, engagement; hostilities, fighting, war, warfare, campaign, crusadecontest, 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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
effort, labour, problem, trial, trouble, stress, strain, bother, battle
informal grind, hassle, pain

Origin

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

Phrases

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.

Derivatives

struggler

noun
More 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.

Definition of struggle in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day vituperate
Pronunciation: vəˈt(y)o͞opəˌrāt
verb
blame or insult (someone) in strong language...