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battle royal

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noun, plural battles royal.
  1. a fight in which more than two combatants are engaged.
  2. a heated argument: After a while the discussion turned into a battle royal.
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Origin of battle royal

First recorded in 1665–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for battle royal

Historical Examples

  • Then there would have been a battle-royal that had set the earth quaking.

    Plays--First Series

    August Strindberg

  • So this battle-royal in art commenced and raged with virulence.

    Great Musical Composers

    George T. Ferris

  • This record on one occasion depicted a battle-royal at breakfast, "over the marmalade," Sally said.

    Somehow Good

    William de Morgan

  • The British Lion, or any other lion, cannot always have a worthy enemy to combat, or a battle-royal to deliver.

    The Virginians

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • What passed during that interview in which the battle-royal between her and her niece occurred, she never revealed.

    The Virginians

    William Makepeace Thackeray


British Dictionary definitions for battle royal

battle royal

noun
  1. a fight, esp with fists or cudgels, involving more than two combatants; melee
  2. a long violent argument
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012