verb (used without object), fought, fight·ing.

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, fight·ing.


    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 formsfight·a·ble, adjectivefight·a·bil·i·ty, nounfight·ing·ly, adverbout·fight, verb (used with object), out·fought, out·fight·ing.pre·fight, adjectivere·fight, verb, re·fought, re·fight·ing.un·fight·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for fight

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fight

Contemporary Examples of fight

Historical Examples of fight

  • 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?

  • 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 or fought

to oppose or struggle against (an enemy) in battle
to oppose or struggle against (a person, thing, cause, etc) in any manner
(tr) 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 strugglingto fight for freedom
(tr) to make or achieve (a way) by fighting
(intr) 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
Derived Formsfighting, noun, adjective

Word Origin for fight

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with fight


In addition to the idioms beginning with fight

  • fight fire with fire
  • fighting chance
  • fighting words
  • fight it out
  • fight off
  • fight shy of
  • fight tooth and nail

also see:

  • can't fight city hall
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.