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limited war

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noun
  1. a war conducted with less than a nation's total resources and restricted in aim to less than total defeat of the enemy.
  2. a war restricted to a relatively small area of the world and involving few warring nations.

Origin of limited war

First recorded in 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for limited war

limited war

noun
  1. a war in which the belligerents do not seek the total destruction of the enemy, esp one in which nuclear weapons are deliberately not used
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