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verb (used without object), strug·gled, strug·gling.
  1. to contend with an adversary or opposing force.
  2. to contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.; strive: to struggle for existence.
  3. to advance with violent effort: to struggle through the snow.
  4. (of athletes and competitors) to be coping with inability to perform well or to win; contend with difficulty: After struggling for the whole month of June, he suddenly caught fire and raised his batting average 30 points.
verb (used with object), strug·gled, strug·gling.
  1. to bring, put, etc., by struggling: She struggled the heavy box into a corner.
  2. to make (one's way) with violent effort.
  1. the process or an act or instance of struggling.
  2. a war, fight, conflict, or contest of any kind.
  3. a task or goal requiring much effort to accomplish or achieve.

Origin of struggle

1350–1400; Middle English struglen, stroglen, frequentative v. (see -le) formed on a base of obscure origin
Related formsstrug·gler, nounstrug·gling·ly, adverbpre·strug·gle, noun, verb (used without object), pre·strug·gled, pre·strug·gling.un·strug·gling, adjective

Synonyms for struggle

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1. oppose, contest, fight, conflict. 7. endeavor, exertion. 8. encounter, skirmish. Struggle, brush, clash refer to a hostile meeting of opposing persons, parties, or forces. Struggle implies vigorous bodily effort or violent exertion: a hand-to-hand struggle. A brush is a brief, but smart, and often casual combat: a brush between patrols. Clash implies a direct and sharp collision between opposing parties, efforts, interests, etc.: a clash of opinions. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for struggled

Contemporary Examples of struggled

Historical Examples of struggled

  • Philæmon averted his face for a moment, and struggled hard with his feelings.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • After the captain left him, he struggled hard to unloose the cords which bound him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • I remembered the object of my visit, and struggled for composure.

  • She struggled for a second in his arms, and received his kiss with a little laugh.


    William J. Locke

  • Cassidy struggled with all his pride against the dominant fury this man hurled on him.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for struggled


  1. (intr; usually foll by for or against; may take an infinitive) to exert strength, energy, and force; work or striveto struggle to obtain freedom
  2. (intr) to move about strenuously so as to escape from something confining
  3. (intr) to contend, battle, or fight
  4. (intr) to go or progress with difficulty
  1. a laboured or strenuous exertion or effort
  2. a fight or battle
  3. the act of struggling
  4. the struggle Southern African the radical and armed opposition to apartheid, especially by the military wings of the ANC and the PAC
Derived Formsstruggler, nounstruggling, adjectivestrugglingly, adverb

Word Origin for struggle

C14: of obscure origin
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 struggled



late 14c., probably a frequentative form, of uncertain origin. Skeat suggests Old Norse strugr "ill will;" others suggest a connection to Dutch struikelen, German straucheln "to stumble." Related: Struggled; struggling.



1690s, from struggle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper