verb (used without object), warred, war·ring.


of, belonging to, used in, or due to war: war preparations; war hysteria.

Origin of war

before 1150; (noun) Middle English, late Old English werre < Old North French < Germanic; cognate with Old High German werra strife; (v.) Middle English, late Old English werrien (transitive) to make war upon, derivative of the noun; compare Old French guerrer, Old North French werreier; akin to war2
Can be confusedwar wore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for warring

belligerent, fighting, battling, combative

Examples from the Web for warring

Contemporary Examples of warring

Historical Examples of warring

  • But for the quality of Giovanni's head-piece of a truth there had been an end to the warring of a Fool.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • It was the signal; like warring currents of the sea the two forces clashed.

  • His soul is the battle ground of the warring angels of good and evil.

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

  • As these lines are written we are still at peace with all the warring nations.

  • I want to get these warring elements together, under one roof.

    The Last Woman

    Ross Beeckman

British Dictionary definitions for warring



open armed conflict between two or more parties, nations, or statesRelated adjectives: belligerent, martial
a particular armed conflictthe 1973 war in the Middle East
the techniques of armed conflict as a study, science, or profession
any conflict or contesta war of wits; the war against crime
(modifier) of, relating to, resulting from, or characteristic of wara war hero; war damage; a war story
to have had a good war to have made the most of the opportunities presented to one during wartime
in the wars informal (esp of a child) hurt or knocked about, esp as a result of quarrelling and fighting

verb wars, warring or warred

(intr) to conduct a war

Word Origin for war

C12: from Old Northern French werre (variant of Old French guerre), of Germanic origin; related to Old High German werra
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 warring



"to make war on," mid-12c.; see war (n.). Related: Warred; warring.



late Old English (c.1050), wyrre, werre, from Old North French werre "war" (Modern French guerre), from Frankish *werra, from Proto-Germanic *werso (cf. Old Saxon werran, Old High German werran, German verwirren "to confuse, perplex"). Cognates suggest the original sense was "to bring into confusion."

Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian guerra are from the same source; Romanic peoples turned to Germanic for a word to avoid Latin bellum because its form tended to merge with bello- "beautiful." There was no common Germanic word for "war" at the dawn of historical times. Old English had many poetic words for "war" (wig, guð, heaðo, hild, all common in personal names), but the usual one to translate Latin bellum was gewin "struggle, strife" (related to win).

First record of war time is late 14c. Warpath (1775) is originally in reference to North American Indians, as are war-whoop (1761), war-paint (1826), and war-dance (1757). War crime first attested 1906. War chest is attested from 1901; now usually figurative. War games translates German Kriegspiel (see kriegspiel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with warring


In addition to the idioms beginning with war

  • ward off
  • war horse
  • war of nerves

also see:

  • all's fair in love and war
  • at war
  • been to the wars
  • declare war
  • tug of war
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.