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See more synonyms for wrestling on Thesaurus.com
  1. a sport in which two opponents struggle hand to hand in order to pin or press each other's shoulders to the mat or ground, with the style, rules, and regulations differing widely in amateur and professional matches.Compare catch-as-catch-can(def 3), Greco-Roman(def 3).
  2. the act of a person who wrestles.
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Origin of wrestling

before 1100; Middle English; Old English wrǣstlunge. See wrestle, -ing1


[res-uh l]
verb (used without object), wres·tled, wres·tling.
  1. to engage in wrestling.
  2. to contend, as in a struggle for mastery; grapple: to wrestle with one's conscience.
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verb (used with object), wres·tled, wres·tling.
  1. to contend with in wrestling.
  2. to force by or as if by wrestling.
  3. to throw (a calf or other animal) for branding.
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  1. an act of or a bout at wrestling.
  2. a struggle.
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Origin of wrestle

before 1100; Middle English wrestlen, wrastlen (v.), Old English *wrǣstlian (compare Old English wrǣstlere wrestler), frequentative of wrǣstan to wrest; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German worstelen
Related formswres·tler, nounout·wres·tle, verb (used with object), out·wres·tled, out·wres·tling.un·wres·tled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for wrestling

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And there must be umpires, as there are now in wrestling, to determine what is a fair hit and who is conqueror.



  • In the center of a group of spectators two men, stripped to the waist, were wrestling.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Colonel Mayhew took us to the fair, and to see the wrestling; then to the bazaars.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • His passion was wrestling with a ghastly doubt, but it was of the kind that dies hard.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • Round behind Teutoberg he pivoted—a wrestling trick he had learned as a boy.

    The Space Rover

    Edwin K. Sloat

British Dictionary definitions for wrestling


  1. any of certain sports in which the contestants fight each other according to various rules governing holds and usually forbidding blows with the closed fist. The principal object is to overcome the opponent either by throwing or pinning him to the ground or by causing him to submitSee freestyle, Graeco-Roman, sumo
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  1. to fight (another person) by holding, throwing, etc, without punching with the closed fist
  2. (intr) to participate in wrestling
  3. (when intr, foll by with or against) to fight with (a person, problem, or thing)wrestle with one's conscience
  4. (tr) to move laboriously, as with wrestling movements
  5. (tr) US and Canadian to throw (an animal) for branding
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  1. the act of wrestling
  2. a struggle or tussle
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Derived Formswrestler, noun

Word Origin

Old English wræstlian; related to Middle Dutch wrastelen (Dutch worstelen), Old Norse rost current, race
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 wrestling


Old English wræstlung, "sport of grappling and throwing," verbal noun from wrestle (v.). From c.1300 as "action of wrestling, a wrestling match." Figurative use from c.1200.

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Old English *wræstlian, frequentative of wræstan "to wrest" (see wrest). Cf. North Frisian wrassele, Middle Low German worstelen. Figurative sense is recorded from early 13c. Related: Wrestled; wrestling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper