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  1. vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism: to be at strife.
  2. a quarrel, struggle, or clash: armed strife.
  3. competition or rivalry: the strife of the marketplace.
  4. Archaic. strenuous effort.

Origin of strife

1175–1225; Middle English strif < Old French estrif, akin to estriver to strive
Related formsstrife·ful, adjectivestrife·less, adjectiveun·der·strife, noun

Synonyms for strife

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Antonyms for strife

1, 2. peace. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for strife


  1. angry or violent struggle; conflict
  2. rivalry or contention, esp of a bitter kind
  3. Australian and NZ trouble or discord of any kindto get into strife
  4. archaic striving

Word Origin for strife

C13: from Old French estrif, probably from estriver to strive
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 strife

early 13c., from Old French estrif, variant of estrit "quarrel, dispute, impetuosity," probably from Frankish *strid, from Proto-Germanic *strido- "strife, combat" (cf. Old High German strit "quarrel, dispute"), related to Old High German stritan "to fight;" see stride.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper