war - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [uncountable] fighting between two or more countries that involves the use of armed forces and usually continues for a long time

    The negotiations failed, and war now seemed inevitable.

    the ever-present threat of nuclear war

    be at war (with):

    They have been at war for five years.

    go to war:

    Let’s hope they can find a solution without going to war.

    war breaks out:

    I volunteered for the Navy when war broke out.

    declare war (on) (=formally announce the start of a war):

    When Poland was invaded, the Allies had no choice but to declare war.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] fighting between opposing groups within one country

      Sierra Leone had endured ten years of war.

    2. b.
      [countable] a particular period of fighting between countries or groups of people

      the American War of Independence

      war between:

      the wars between England and Scotland in the 14th century

      war against/with:

      The King led England into another war against France.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] a determined and organized effort to control or stop something, for example a disease or crime
    war against:

    This is a major victory in the war against drugs.

    wage/declare war on something:

    We will continue to wage war on organized crime.

  3. 3
    [countable] economics a situation in which countries, organizations, or businesses compete with each other to gain economic power or control

    This could easily start a trade war.

    war for:

    the war for supremacy in the fast-food industry

  4. 4
    [countable/uncountable] often humorous a situation in which two people or groups of people fight, argue, or are extremely unpleasant to each other

    He was angry, but reluctant to declare war on his old friends.

    You know this means war!

See also