war definition, war meaning | English dictionary

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1    open armed conflict between two or more parties, nations, or states  
   Related adjs       belligerent       martial  
2    a particular armed conflict  
the 1973 war in the Middle East     
3    the techniques of armed conflict as a study, science, or profession  
4    any conflict or contest  
a war of wits, the war against crime     
5    modifier   of, relating to, resulting from, or characteristic of war  
a war hero, war damage, a war story     
6    to have had a good war   to have made the most of the opportunities presented to one during wartime  
7    in the wars  
Informal   (esp. of a child) hurt or knocked about, esp. as a result of quarrelling and fighting  
      vb   , wars, warring, warred  
8    intr   to conduct a war  
     (C12: from Old Northern French werre (variant of Old French guerre), of Germanic origin; related to Old High German werra)  

act of war  
      n   an aggressive act, usually employing military force, which constitutes an immediate threat to peace  
Articles of War  
      pl n  
1    the disciplinary and legal procedures by which the naval and military forces of Great Britain were bound before the 19th century  
2    the regulations of the U.S. army, navy, and air force until the Uniform Code of Military Justice replaced them in 1951  
Barons' War  
      n   either of two civil wars in 13th-century England. The First Barons' War (1215--17) was precipitated by King John's failure to observe the terms of Magna Carta: many of the Barons' grievances were removed by his death (1216) and peace was concluded in 1217. The Second Barons' War (1264--67) was caused by Henry III's refusal to accept limitations on his authority: the rebel Barons (led (1264--65) by Simon de Montfort), initially successful, were defeated at the battle of Evesham (1265); sporadic resistance continued until 1267  
Boer War  
      n   either of two conflicts between Britain and the South African Boers, the first (1880--1881) when the Boers sought to regain the independence given up for British aid against the Zulus, the second (1899--1902) when the Orange Free State and Transvaal declared war on Britain  
civil war  
      n   war between parties, factions, or inhabitants of different regions within the same nation  
Civil War  
1      (English history)   the conflict between Charles I and the Parliamentarians resulting from disputes over their respective prerogatives. Parliament gained decisive victories at Marston Moor in 1644 and Naseby in 1645, and Charles was executed in 1649  
2      (U.S. history)   the war fought from 1861 to 1865 between the North and the South, sparked off by Lincoln's election as president but with deep-rooted political and economic causes, exacerbated by the slavery issue. The advantages of the North in terms of population, finance, and communications brought about the South's eventual surrender at Appomattox  
cod war  
      n   any of three disputes that occurred in 1958, 1972--73, and 1975--76 between Britain and Iceland, concerning Iceland's unilateral extension of her fishing limits  
cold war  
      n   a state of political hostility and military tension between two countries or power blocs, involving propaganda, subversion, threats, economic sanctions, and other measures short of open warfare, esp. that between the American and Soviet blocs after World War II (the Cold War)  
council of war  
1    an assembly of military leaders in wartime  
2    an emergency meeting to formulate a plan  
Crimean War  
      n   the war fought mainly in the Crimea between Russia on one side and Turkey, France, Sardinia, and Britain on the other (1853-56)  
First World War  
      n      another name for       World War I  
Franco-Prussian War  
      n   the war of 1870--71 between France and Prussia culminating in the fall of the French Second Empire and the founding of the German empire  
French and Indian War  
      n   the war (1755--60) between the French and British, each aided by different Indian tribes, that formed part of the North American Seven Years' War  
Great War  
      n      another name for       World War I  
Gulf War  
1    the war (1991) between U.S.-led UN forces and Iraq, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait  
2       See       Iran-Iraq War  
Gulf War syndrome  
      n   a group of various debilitating symptoms experienced by many soldiers who served in the Gulf War of 1991. It is claimed to be associated with damage to the central nervous system, caused by exposure to pesticides containing organophosphates  
holy war  
      n   a war waged in the cause of a religion  
honours of war  
      pl n     (Military)   the honours granted by the victorious to the defeated, esp. as of marching out with all arms and flags flying  
Hundred Years' War  
      n   the series of wars fought intermittently between England and France from 1337--1453: after early victories the English were expelled from all of France except Calais  
Imperial War Museum  
      n   a museum in London, founded in 1920, containing material related to military operations involving British and Commonwealth forces since 1914  
Iran-Iraq War  
      n   the war (1980--88) fought by Iran and Iraq, following the Iraqi invasion of disputed border territory in Iran. It ended indecisively with no important gains on either side: Iraq subsequently (1990) conceded the disputed territory,   (Also called)    Gulf War  
Korean War  
      n   the war (1950--53) fought between North Korea, aided by Communist China, and South Korea, supported by the U.S. and other members of the UN  
limited war  
      n   a war in which the belligerents do not seek the total destruction of the enemy, esp. one in which nuclear weapons are deliberately not used  
man-of-war   , man o' war  
      n   pl   , men-of-war, men o' war  
1    a warship  
2       See       Portuguese man-of-war  
man-of-war bird   , man-o'-war bird  
      n      another name for       frigate bird  
Mexican War  
      n   the war fought between the U.S. and Mexico (1846--48), through which the U.S. acquired the present-day Southwest  
Peloponnesian War  
      n   a war fought for supremacy in Greece from 431 to 404 b.c., in which Athens and her allies were defeated by the league centred on Sparta  
Peninsular War  
      n   the war (1808--14) fought in the Iberian Peninsula by British, Portuguese, and Spanish forces against the French, resulting in the defeat of the French: part of the Napoleonic Wars  
phony war  
1    (in wartime) a period of apparent calm and inactivity, esp. the period at the beginning of World War II  
2    (in peacetime) a contrived embattled atmosphere; mock war  
Portuguese man-of-war  
      n   any of several large complex colonial hydrozoans of the genus Physalia, esp. P. physalis, having an aerial float and long stinging tentacles: order Siphonophora,   (Sometimes shortened to)    man-of-war  
price war  
      n   a period of intense competition among enterprises, esp. retail enterprises, in the same market, characterized by repeated price reductions rather than advertising, brand promotion, etc.  
prisoner of war  
      n   a person, esp. a serviceman, captured by an enemy in time of war,   (Abbrev.)    POW  
Queen Anne's War  
      n   those conflicts (1702--13) of the War of the Spanish Succession that were fought in North America  
Russo-Japanese War  
      n   a war (1904--05) between Russia and Japan, caused largely by rivalry over Korea and Manchuria. Russia suffered a series of major defeats  
Second World War  
      n      another name for       World War II  
Seven Years' War  
      n   the war (1756--63) of Britain and Prussia, who emerged in the ascendant, against France and Austria, resulting from commercial and colonial rivalry between Britain and France and from the conflict in Germany between Prussia and Austria  
Six Day War  
      n   a war fought in the Middle East in June 1967, lasting six days. In it Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, occupying the Gaza Strip, the Sinai, Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan, and the Golan Heights  
sloop of war  
      n   (formerly) a small fast sailing warship mounting some 10 to 30 small calibre guns on one deck  
Spanish-American War  
      n   the war between the U.S. and Spain (1898) resulting in Spain's withdrawal from Cuba and its cession of Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico  
Spanish Civil War  
      n   the civil war in Spain from 1936 to 1939 in which insurgent nationalists, led by General Franco, succeeded in overthrowing the republican government. During the war Spain became an ideological battleground for fascists and socialists from all countries  
state of war  
1    a period of armed conflict between states, regardless of whether or not war has been officially declared  
2    a legal condition begun by a declaration of war and ended formally, during which the rules of international law applicable to warfare may be invoked  
Thirty Years' War  
      n   a major conflict involving principally Austria, Denmark, France, Holland, the German states, Spain, and Sweden, that devastated central Europe, esp. large areas of Germany (1618--48). It began as a war between Protestants and Catholics but was gradually transformed into a struggle to determine whether the German emperor could assert more than nominal authority over his princely vassals. The Peace of Westphalia gave the German states their sovereignty and the right of religious toleration and confirmed French ascendancy  
Trojan War  
      n     (Greek myth)   a war fought by the Greeks against the Trojans to avenge the abduction of Helen from her Greek husband Menelaus by Paris, son of the Trojan king. It lasted ten years and ended in the sack of Troy  
1    a contest in which two people or teams pull opposite ends of a rope in an attempt to drag the opposition over a central line  
2    any hard struggle, esp. between two equally matched factions  
      abbrev. for   Warwickshire  
war baby  
      n   a child born in wartime, esp. the illegitimate child of a soldier  
War Between the States  
      n   the American Civil War  
war bonnet  
      n   a headband with trailing feathers, worn by certain North American Indian warriors as a headdress  
war bride  
      n   a soldier's bride met as a result of troop movements in wartime, esp. a foreign national  
war chest  
      n     (U.S)   a fund collected for a specific purpose, such as an election campaign  
war correspondent  
      n   a journalist who reports on a war from the scene of action  
war crime  
      n   a crime committed in wartime in violation of the accepted rules and customs of war, such as genocide, ill-treatment of prisoners of war, etc.  
  war criminal      n  
war cry  
1    a rallying cry used by combatants in battle  
2    a cry, slogan, etc., used to rally support for a cause  
war dance  
1    a ceremonial dance performed before going to battle or after victory, esp. by certain North American Indian peoples  
2    a dance representing warlike action  
war establishment  
      n   the full wartime complement of men, equipment, and vehicles of a military unit  
war game  
1    a notional tactical exercise for training military commanders, in which no military units are actually deployed  
2    a game in which model soldiers are used to create battles, esp. past battles, in order to study tactics  
war memorial  
      n   a monument, usually an obelisk or cross, to those who die in a war, esp. those from a particular locality  
War of American Independence  
      n   the conflict following the revolt of the North American colonies against British rule, particularly on the issue of taxation. Hostilities began in 1775 when British and American forces clashed at Lexington and Concord. Articles of Confederation agreed in the Continental Congress in 1777 provided for a confederacy to be known as the United States of America. The war was effectively ended with the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1781 and peace was signed at Paris in Sept. 1783,   (Also called)    American Revolution, Revolutionary War  
War of 1812  
      n   a war between Great Britain and the U.S., fought chiefly along the Canadian border (1812--14)  
War Office  
      n     (Brit, formerly)  
a    the department of state responsible for the British Army  
b    the premises of this department in Whitehall, London  
war of nerves  
      n   the use of psychological tactics against an opponent, such as shattering his morale by the use of propaganda  
War of Secession  
      n      another name for the (American)       Civil War  
War of the Austrian Succession  
      n   the war (1740--48) fought by Austria, Britain, and the Netherlands against Prussia, France, and Spain in support of the right of succession of Maria Theresa to the Austrian throne and against the territorial aims of Prussia  
War of the Grand Alliance  
      n   the war (1689--97) waged by the Grand Alliance, led by Britain, the Netherlands, and Austria, against Louis XIV of France, following his invasion (1688) of the Palatinate  
War of the Spanish Succession  
      n   the war (1701--14) between Austria, Britain, Prussia, and the Netherlands on the one side and France, Spain, and Bavaria on the other over the disputed succession to the Spanish throne  
war paint  
1    painted decoration of the face and body applied by certain North American Indians before battle  
2    Informal   finery or regalia  
3    Informal   cosmetics  
war whoop  
      n   the yell or howl uttered, esp. by North American Indians, while making an attack  
Winter War  
      n   the war of the winter of 1939--40 between Finland and the USSR after which the Finns surrendered the Karelian Isthmus to the USSR  
World War I  
      n   the war (1914--18), fought mainly in Europe and the Middle East, in which the Allies (principally France, Russia, Britain, Italy after 1915, and the U.S. after 1917) defeated the Central Powers (principally Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey). The war was precipitated by the assassination of Austria's crown prince (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 and swiftly developed its major front in E France, where millions died in static trench warfare. After the October Revolution (1917) the Bolsheviks ended Russian participation in the war (Dec. 15, 1917). The exhausted Central Powers agreed to an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918 and quickly succumbed to internal revolution, before being forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919) and other treaties,   (Also called)    First World War, Great War  
World War II  
      n   the war (1939--45) in which the Allies (principally Britain, the Soviet Union, and the U.S.) defeated the Axis powers (principally Germany, Italy, and Japan). Britain and France declared war on Germany (Sept. 3, 1939) as a result of the German invasion of Poland (Sept. 1, 1939). Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940 shortly before the collapse of France (armistice signed June 22, 1940). On June 22, 1941 Germany attacked the Soviet Union and on Dec. 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor. On Sept. 8, 1943 Italy surrendered, the war in Europe ending on May 7, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of the Germans. The Japanese capitulated on Aug. 14, 1945 as a direct result of the atomic bombs dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,   (Also called)    Second World War  
Yom Kippur War  
      n   a war in which Egypt and Syria launched a joint surprise attack on Israel on the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur (Oct. 6, 1973). It ended with a ceasefire (Oct. 25, 1973), Syrian forces having been repulsed, Egypt having reoccupied a belt of the Sinai desert on the E bank of the Suez Canal, and Israel having established a salient on the W bank of the Suez Canal  
English Collins Dictionary - English Definition & Thesaurus  


      n   armed conflict, battle, bloodshed, combat, conflict, contention, contest, enmity, fighting, hostilities, hostility, strife, struggle, warfare  
      vb   battle, campaign against, carry on hostilities, clash, combat, conduct a war, contend, contest, fight, make war, strive, struggle, take up arms, wage war  
,       n   accord, armistice, cease-fire, co-existence, compliance, co-operation, harmony, peace, peace-time, treaty, truce  
      vb   call a ceasefire, co-exist, co-operate, make peace  

war cry     
battle cry, rallying cry, slogan, war whoop  

English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus  

war hawk n.
a militarist; person who urges war
Synonyms: warmonger, militant

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