struggle between a literary or dramatic character and an outside force such as nature or another character, which drives the dramatic action of the plot: external conflict between Macbeth and Macduff.
struggle between a person and an outside force: external conflict between parents and children.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- Compare internal conflict.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use external conflict in a sentence
It is no external conflict that has thus worn and bowed him down in less than half a year.Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family | Elizabeth Rundle Charles
The external conflict may be man challenged by nature, man embattled by society, or one man opposed by another man.Sequential Problem Solving | Fredric Lozo
external conflict has invariably reacted powerfully upon the internal organization of social groups.Introduction to the Science of Sociology | Robert E. Park