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tussle

[tuhs-uh l]
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verb (used without object), tus·sled, tus·sling.
  1. to struggle or fight roughly or vigorously; wrestle; scuffle.
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noun
  1. a rough physical contest or struggle; scuffle.
  2. any vigorous or determined struggle, conflict, etc.: I had quite a tussle with that chemistry exam.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for tussle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Jim-the-ladder has been a prize-fighter in his day, and there was a tussle.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Just a bit of a tussle now and then to keep you from dropping off.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Lydia didn't want him to tussle, but she did want him at the top.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • I came upon it from a tussle with the sea—and I was young—and I saw it looking at me.

    Youth

    Joseph Conrad

  • Then, perhaps, there might be a tussle between them as to which should have his own way,—or hers.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope


British Dictionary definitions for tussle

tussle

verb
  1. (intr) to fight or wrestle in a vigorous way; struggle
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noun
  1. a vigorous fight; scuffle; struggle
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Word Origin

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

v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper