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[fahyt] /faɪt/
a battle or combat.
any contest or struggle:
a fight for recovery from an illness.
an angry argument or disagreement:
Whenever we discuss politics, we end up in a fight.
Boxing. a bout or contest.
a game or diversion in which the participants hit or pelt each other with something harmless:
a pillow fight; a water fight.
ability, will, or inclination to fight:
There was no fight left in him.
verb (used without object), fought, fighting.
to engage in battle or in single combat; attempt to defend oneself against or to subdue, defeat, or destroy an adversary.
to contend in any manner; strive vigorously for or against something:
He fought bravely against despair.
verb (used with object), fought, fighting.
to contend with in battle or combat; war against:
England fought Germany.
to contend with or against in any manner:
to fight despair; to fight the passage of a bill.
to carry on (a battle, duel, etc.).
to maintain (a cause, quarrel, etc.) by fighting or contending.
to make (one's way) by fighting or striving.
to cause or set (a boxer, animal, etc.) to fight.
to manage or maneuver (troops, ships, guns, planes, etc.) in battle.
fight it out, to fight until a decision is reached:
Let them fight it out among themselves.
fight shy of. shy1 (def 12).
fight with windmills. tilt1 (def 18).
Origin of fight
before 900; (v.) Middle English fi(g)hten, Old English fe(o)htan (cognate with German fechten); (noun) Middle English fi(g)ht, Old English feohte, (ge)feoht, derivative of the v. base
Related forms
fightable, adjective
fightability, noun
fightingly, adverb
outfight, verb (used with object), outfought, outfighting.
prefight, adjective
refight, verb, refought, refighting.
unfightable, adjective
1, 2. encounter, engagement, affray, fray, action, skirmish, melee; scuffle, tussle, row, riot.
Synonym Study
1, 2. Fight, combat, conflict, contest denote a struggle of some kind. Fight connotes a hand-to-hand struggle for supremacy, literally or in a figurative sense. Combat suggests an armed encounter, as in war. Conflict implies a bodily, mental, or moral struggle caused by opposing views, beliefs, etc. Contest applies to either a friendly or a hostile struggle for a definite prize or aim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now he was about to go out into the great world, and fight his own way.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • It caused them to fight for the sole possession of this Paradise upon Earth.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • Are you—do you mean you're going to fight the other man, too?

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • These were not the men to endure privations and fight their country's battles.

  • George was anxious to do the right, but did not know how to fight against the wrong.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
British Dictionary definitions for fight


verb fights, fighting, fought
to oppose or struggle against (an enemy) in battle
to oppose or struggle against (a person, thing, cause, etc) in any manner
(transitive) to engage in or carry on (a battle, contest, etc)
when intr often foll by for. to uphold or maintain (a cause, ideal, etc) by fighting or struggling: to fight for freedom
(transitive) to make or achieve (a way) by fighting
(intransitive) (boxing)
  1. to box, as for a living
  2. to use aggressive rough tactics
to engage (another or others) in combat
fight it out, to contend or struggle until a decisive result is obtained
fight shy of, to keep aloof from
a battle, struggle, or physical combat
a quarrel, dispute, or contest
resistance (esp in the phrase to put up a fight)
the desire to take part in physical combat (esp in the phrase to show fight)
a boxing match
See also fight back, fight off
Derived Forms
fighting, noun, adjective
Word Origin
Old English feohtan; related to Old Frisian fiuchta, Old Saxon, Old High German fehtan to fight
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
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Word Origin and History for fight

Old English feohtan "to fight" (class III strong verb; past tense feaht, past participle fohten), from Proto-Germanic *fekhtanan (cf. Old High German fehtan, German fechten, Middle Dutch and Dutch vechten, Old Frisian fiuhta "to fight"), from PIE *pek- "to pluck out" (wool or hair), apparently with a notion of "pulling roughly" (cf. Greek pekein "to comb, shear," pekos "fleece, wool;" Persian pashm "wool, down," Latin pectere "to comb," Sanskrit paksman- "eyebrows, hair").

Spelling substitution of -gh- for a "hard H" sound was a Middle English scribal habit, especially before -t-. In some late Old English examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh. To fight back "resist" is recorded from 1890.


Old English feohte, gefeoht "a fight;" see fight (v.). Cf. Old Frisian fiucht, Old Saxon fehta, Dutch gevecht, Old High German gifeht, German Gefecht.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fight



A party; struggle: the cocktail fights attended by the old man (1891+)

Related Terms

cat fight, dogfight, you can't fight city hall

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with fight
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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