Engaged in armed conflict; also, in a state of disagreement. This term may be used literally, usually of nations or smaller groups engaged in armed hostilities, as well as hyperbolically, describing a mild disagreement as “war,” and figuratively, for an inner conflict. For example, The Greeks and Turks have been at war for many years (literally); The two families were at war about the bill for the wedding reception (hyperbolic); and, as Shakespeare put it in Measure for Measure (2:2): “I am at war 'twixt will and will not” (inner conflict of indecision). [Late 1300s]
Words nearby at war
How to use at war in a sentence
With the standing army came the first beginnings of civilian control, a Secretary-at-War being appointed in 1660.
The knowledge that relations-in-law are frequently relations-at-war, predisposes both parties to unjust judgment.The Secret of a Happy Home (1896)|Marion Harland
The poor widow hesitated to present herself to the minister-at-war to ask for her due.The Conspirators|Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
This was the confidential political friend of the Secretary-at-War, by whom he was intrusted with £400,000 of public money!North America, Volume II (of 2)|Anthony Trollope
It was a grand point gained for him, as he could now make sure of the post of secretary-at-war, the main object of his ambition.Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry|Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon