battle royal

[ bat-l roi-uhl ]
/ ˈbæt l ˈrɔɪ əl /
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noun, plural battle royals, battles royal.

a fight in which more than two combatants are engaged.
a cockfight in which three, five, or seven fowl are placed simultaneously in the fighting pit to eliminate each other by death or debilitating injury until only the victor remains in fighting condition.
Professional Wrestling. a type of wrestling match in which 15 to 30 wrestlers attempt to stay inside the ring while eliminating competitors by throwing them outside of the ropes until only one wrestler remains and is declared the winner.
a heated argument: After a while the discussion turned into a battle royal.



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Also called last man stand·ing (for defs. 1, 3) .

Origin of battle royal

First recorded in 1665–75 in spelling battail Royal

historical usage of battle royal

The term battle royal has had the general meaning of a free-for-all fight with three or more participants since the 17th century. It has also been used to name fight parameters for specific categories of contests, as in cockfighting. It is the official name of a type of wrestling match, but is also applied to other knock-down-drag-out fights, like the one in the first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s classic 1952 novel Invisible Man, in which rich white men force poor Black boys to fight a battle royal : Everyone fought hysterically. It was complete anarchy. Everybody fought everybody else. No group fought together for long. Two, three, four, fought one, then turned to fight each other, were themselves attacked.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use battle royal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for battle royal

battle royal


a fight, esp with fists or cudgels, involving more than two combatants; melee
a long violent argument
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