[ tuhs-uh l ]
/ ˈtʌs əl /

verb (used without object), tus·sled, tus·sling.

to struggle or fight roughly or vigorously; wrestle; scuffle.


a rough physical contest or struggle; scuffle.
any vigorous or determined struggle, conflict, etc.: I had quite a tussle with that chemistry exam.

Nearby words

  1. tussiculation,
  2. tussie-mussie,
  3. tussis,
  4. tussive,
  5. tussive fremitus,
  6. tussock,
  7. tussock caterpillar,
  8. tussock grass,
  9. tussock moth,
  10. tussocky

Origin of tussle

1425–75; late Middle English (north and Scots) tusillen, derivative (see -le) of tusen to touse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tussle

British Dictionary definitions for tussle


/ (ˈtʌsəl) /


(intr) to fight or wrestle in a vigorous way; struggle


a vigorous fight; scuffle; struggle

Word Origin for tussle

C15: related to Old High German zūsen; see tousle

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 tussle



late 15c., Scottish and northern English variant of touselen (see tousle). Related: Tussled; tussling. The noun is first recorded 1620s but rare before 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper