[ troos ]
/ trus /
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a suspension of hostilities for a specified period of time by mutual agreement of the warring parties; cease-fire; armistice.
an agreement or treaty establishing this.
a temporary respite, as from trouble or pain.
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Origin of truce

1175–1225; Middle English trewes, plural of trewe,Old English trēow belief, pledge, treaty. See trow


truceless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does truce mean?

A truce is a stoppage of fighting between two or more people or sides in a conflict, especially a temporary one.

The agreement, or treaty, that establishes such a stoppage can also be called a truce. When used in the context of military conflicts, a truce is often temporary and set for a specified period of time.

Truce can also be used casually to refer to an agreement between two or more people to stop arguing or engaging in some less serious form of conflict, like a pillow fight (not that pillow fights can’t get pretty intense).

Example: I realized the bad blood between me and Taylor was really petty, so we both decided to call a truce.

Where does truce come from?

The first records of truce come from around 1200. It comes from Middle English trewes, the plural of trewe, from the Old English trēow, meaning “belief, pledge, treaty.” The words true and truth are based on the same root.

Truce is often used as a general term to refer to any suspension of conflict, especially between warring armies. So what’s the difference between a truce, a cease-fire, and an armistice? In general, all three terms mean about the same thing. A cease-fire is usually a temporary stoppage to an ongoing battle. An armistice often refers to a stoppage of all hostilities—the agreement to end a war is sometimes called an armistice. Cease-fires and armistices are both examples of truces, but truce is usually used on a smaller scale or in a more informal way. Both cease-fire and armistice sound official, but truce often implies less formality.

Truce is also used outside the context of wars and the military to refer to an informal agreement between two people to call off an argument or feud, especially one that has gone on for a long time. Such a truce is often offered in the form of a question, simply by saying, “Truce?” If the other person agrees, they can also just say, “Truce.”

Remember: just because two armies or countries or people have agreed to a truce doesn’t mean the conflict is over forever—some truces are only temporary.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to truce?

  • truceless (adjective)

What are some synonyms for truce?

What are some words that share a root or word element with truce? 

What are some words that often get used in discussing truce?


How is truce used in real life?

Truce is often used in the context of war and other military conflicts. But it is also often used in a much more casual way to refer to an agreement to end a petty argument.



Try using truce!

True or False?

A truce is when one side in a conflict decides to stop fighting.

How to use truce in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for truce

/ (truːs) /

an agreement to stop fighting, esp temporarily
temporary cessation of something unpleasant

Word Origin for truce

C13: from the plural of Old English treow trow; see true, trust
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