when people try to hurt or kill each other:
Don't get into a fight.
A fight broke out between the two gangs.
II. fight2 S2 W3 BrE AmE noun
1. PEOPLE HIT EACH OTHER [countable] a situation in which two people or groups hit, push etc each other:
Her son was always getting into fights at school.
They ended up having a fight with each other.
A fight broke out between the fans.
fights over territory
2. TO ACHIEVE/PREVENT SOMETHING [singular] the process of trying to achieve something or prevent something
the fight for justice and democracy
The little girl lost her fight for life (=fight to stay alive) last night.
the fight against crime
fight to do something
the fight to get financial aid
You’ll have a fight on your hands (=it will be difficult) to convince the committee.
3. ARGUMENT [countable] an argument
They’ve had a fight with the neighbours.
fights over money
4. BOXING [countable] a ↑boxing match:
Are you going to watch the big fight tonight?
5. BATTLE [countable] a battle between two armies
the fight for Bunker Hill
6. ENERGY [uncountable] energy or the desire to keep fighting for something you want:
There’s plenty of fight left in your grandmother.
7. put up a good fight to work very hard to fight or compete in a difficult situation:
Our team put up a good fight.
8. a fight to the death/finish a fight that continues until one side is completely defeated
• • •
▪ have a fight I didn’t want to have a fight with him.
▪ get into a fight (=become involved in a fight) The two men got into a fight over a girl.
▪ start a fight They started a fight in the crowded bar.
▪ pick a fight (=deliberately start a fight) The guy tried to pick a fight with Jack.
▪ stop a fight/break up a fight The police were called in to break up a fight outside a nightclub.
▪ win/lose a fight He always won every fight he was in at school.
▪ be spoiling for a fight (=be very eager to fight with someone) The kids went round in gangs, all spoiling for a fight.
▪ a fight breaks out/erupts (=suddenly starts) A fight broke out and one man was struck on the head.
▪ a fight takes place (=happens) The fight took place outside a nightclub.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + fight
▪ a big fight They ended up having a big fight in the pub.
▪ a fair fight It was a fair fight, just two on two.
▪ a fierce fight There was a fierce fight with rebel forces and several soldiers were killed.
▪ a street fight There were reports of street fights every night in the local newspaper.
▪ a fist fight (=a fight in which people hit each other with their closed hands) A fist fight broke out after the match.
▪ a knife/sword fight There have been several arrests, following knife fights between drunken fans.
▪ a title fight (=a fight between two boxers to decide who will win a competition) a heavyweight title fight
• • •
■ when people hit or attack each other
▪ fight a situation in which people hit or attack each other because of an argument, or as a sport: He had a fight with an older boy. | the famous fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman
▪ battle a fight between opposing armies or groups of people: The English king was killed at the Battle of Hastings. | a battle between two rival gangs
▪ scuffle a short fight that is not very violent: There was a short scuffle with the police, but no arrests were made.
▪ punch-up British English informal a fight in which people hit each other because of an argument: The game turned into a punch-up.
▪ brawl a noisy fight between a group of people: He was hurt in a drunken brawl.
▪ altercation formal a short noisy argument or fight, especially one that is not serious: There was a brief altercation and someone called the police.
▪ riot a fight involving a large number of people, especially people who are protesting about something: The book provoked riots all over Europe.
■ when people try to achieve something
▪ fight the process in which people try to stop something bad from happening or to improve a situation: Schools have an important part to play in the fight against drugs. | women’s fight for equality
▪ battle a fight to change a situation or deal with a problem in society: The battle against racial discrimination is not over.
▪ campaign a planned series of actions intended to achieve something: Motoring organizations started a campaign for safer roads.
▪ struggle a long, hard fight for freedom, independence, equal rights etc: Nkrumah led the people in their struggle for independence.
▪ crusade someone’s fight against something they think is morally wrong: She intends to continue her crusade against sex and violence on TV.
1. countable a struggle against sb/sth using physical force
• ~ (with sb/sth) He got into a fight with a man in the bar.
• I had a fight with the ticket machine, which was being temperamental.
• a street/gang fight
• ~ (between A and B) A fight broke out between rival groups of fans.
• a world title fight (= fighting as a sport, especially boxing )
TRYING TO GET/DO STH
2. singular the work of trying to destroy, prevent or achieve sth
• ~ (against sth) the fight against crime
• ~ (for sth) a fight for survival
• ~ (to do sth) Workers won their fight to stop compulsory redundancies.
3. singular a competition or an act of competing, especially in a sport
• The team put up a good fight (= they played well) but were finally beaten.
• She now has a fight on her hands (= will have to play very well) to make it through to the next round.
4. countable ~ (with sb) (over/about sth) (especially NAmE) an argument about sth
• Did you have a fight with him?
• We had a fight over money.
5. countable a battle, especially for a particular place or position
• In the fight for Lemburg, the Austrians were defeated.
DESIRE TO FIGHT
6. uncountable the desire or ability to keep fighting for sth
• In spite of many defeats, they still had plenty of fight left in them.
• Losing their leader took all the fight out of them.
more at pick a fight at pick v., be spoiling for a fight at spoil v.
Old English feohtan (verb), feoht(e), gefeoht (noun), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch vechten, gevecht and German fechten, Gefecht.
• He got into a fight in a bar.
brawl • • struggle • • scuffle • • tussle • |journalism clash •
a fight/brawl/struggle/scuffle/tussle/clash with sb
a fight/brawl/struggle/scuffle/tussle/clash between people
a fight/brawl/struggle/scuffle/tussle/clash over sth
be in/get into/be involved in a fight/brawl/scuffle/tussle/clash
• the fight against crime
war • • crusade • • battle • • struggle • • campaign •
a fight/crusade/battle/struggle/campaign for sth
a fight/war/crusade/battle/struggle/campaign against sth
a fight/war/battle/struggle between people
lead/continue the fight/war/crusade/battle/struggle/campaign
Fight, war or crusade? A war is about stopping things, like drugs and crime, that everyone agrees are bad. A fight can be about achieving justice for yourself. A crusade is often about persuading people to share your beliefs about what is right and wrong.
3. C (especially AmE)
• We had a fight over money.
argument • • quarrel • • squabble • • shouting match • • disagreement • • dispute • |BrE, informal row • |informal tiff •
a/an fight/argument/quarrel/squabble/shouting match/disagreement/row/tiff with sb
a/an fight/argument/quarrel/squabble/shouting match/disagreement/dispute/row/tiff between A and B
(a/an) fight/argument/quarrel/squabble/disagreement/dispute/row about/over sb/sth
a/an fight/argument/quarrel/row/dispute breaks out
Fight, argument, quarrel or row? A quarrel, row or fight is usually only between people who know each other:
• We had an argument with the waiter about the bill.
¤ We had a quarrel/row/fight with the waiter about the bill. A quarrel is less violent than a row or fight, but it can continue for a period of time; an argument can be violent or it can be a serious discussion.
battle • struggle • drive • war • fight
These are all words for an effort made to achieve or prevent sth.
campaign • a series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial or political aim: ▪ the campaign for parliamentary reform ◊ ▪ an advertising campaign
battle • a competition or argument between people or groups of people trying to win power or control: ▪ She finally won the legal battle for compensation. ◊ ▪ the endless battle between man and nature
struggle • a competition or argument between people or groups of people trying to win power or control: ▪ the struggle for independence ◊ ▪ the struggle between good and evil
battle or struggle?
A struggle is always about things that seem absolutely necessary, such as life and death or freedom. A battle can also be about things that are not absolutely necessary, just desirable, or about the pleasure of winning: ▪ the battle/struggle between good and evil ◊ a legal struggle for compensation ◊ a struggle of wills/wits.
drive • an organized effort by a group of people to achieve sth: ▪ the drive for greater efficiency ◊ ▪ a drive to reduce energy consumption
campaign or drive?
A campaign is usually aimed at getting other people to do sth; a drive may be an attempt by people to get themselves to do sth: ▪ From today, we're going on an ▪ economy drive ▪ ▪ (= we must spend less) ▪. A campaign may be larger, more formal and more organized than a drive.
war • [sing.] an effort over a long period of time to get rid of or stop sth bad: ▪ the war against crime
fight • [sing.] the work of trying to stop or prevent sth bad or achieve sth good; an act of competing, especially in a sport: ▪ Workers won their fight to stop compulsory redundancies.
war or fight?
A war is about stopping things, like drugs and crime, that everyone agrees are bad. A fight can be about achieving justice for yourself.
a campaign/battle/struggle/drive/war/fight against sth
a campaign/battle/struggle/drive/fight for sth
a one-man/one-woman/personal campaign/battle/struggle/war
a bitter campaign/battle/struggle/drive/war/fight
to launch/embark on a campaign/battle/drive
to lead/continue the campaign/battle/struggle/drive/fight
to win/lose a battle/struggle/war/fight
clash • brawl • struggle • scuffle
These are all words for a situation in which people try to defeat each other using physical force.
fight • a situation in which two or more people try to defeat each other using physical force: ▪ He got into a fight with a man in the bar.
clash • (journalism) a short fight between two groups of people: ▪ Clashes broke out between police and demonstrators.
brawl • a noisy and violent fight involving a group of people, usually in a public place: ▪ a drunken brawl in a bar
struggle • a fight between two people or groups of people, especially when one of them is trying to escape, or to get sth from the other: ▪ There were no signs of a struggle at the murder scene.
scuffle • a short and not very violent fight or struggle: ▪ He was involved in a scuffle with a photographer.
a fight/clash/brawl/struggle/scuffle over sth
in a fight/brawl/struggle/scuffle
a violent fight/clash/struggle
to be in/get into/be involved in a fight/clash/brawl/scuffle
a fight/clash/brawl/scuffle breaks out
• Andy was drunk and spoiling for a fight.
• Are we losing the fight against illegal drugs?
• By 1807 politics had become a fight to the death between the two factions.
• Coal workers are determined to put up a fight to save their jobs.
• Doctors have now joined in the fight to make this treatment available to all.
• Don't get into any more fights!
• He is still engaged in a bitter fight with his old company.
• He killed a man in a fight.
• He tried to pick a fight with me.
• He was killed during a series of running fights outside a disco.
• I don't know who started the fight.
• I'm not giving up without a fight!
• If the polls are wrong and it's a fight to the finish, the result may not be known until all the votes have been counted.
• In a straight fight the army usually won.
• In a straight fight the crusaders usually won; in skirmishes, the Saracens often overcame their more numerous opponents.
• It was a fair fight and Stephen won.
• No doubt Ferguson wants his team to make a fight of it.
• Now he is facing his toughest fight yet— back to fitness after a series of injuries.
• She died at the age of 43 after a brave fight against cancer.
• She just gave up her fight for life.
• She now has a fight on her hands to make it through to the next round.
• She now has a fight on her hands= will have to play very well to make it through to the next round.
• She said they would continue their fight to find a cure for AIDS.
• She vowed to take her fight to the High Court.
• Suddenly the argument developed into a real fight.
• The dog fights took place every Sunday morning.
• The fight for justice goes on.
• The fight for supremacy in the sport is on.
• The fight is on to have this brutal practice stamped out.
• The fight was broken up by a teacher.
• The government has vowed to step up the fight against crime.
• The team put up a good fight but were finally beaten.
• The team put up a good fight= they played well but were finally beaten.
• There's nothing he likes so much as a good fight.
• They got involved in a fight with some older boys.
• They inadvertently got mixed up in a free fight involving some 20 people.
• They nearly had a fight over who should move first.
• This will be a straight fight between Labour and the Conservatives: the other parties are nowhere.
• This will be a straight fight between the two parties.
• Union leaders know that they have a real fight on their hands.
• a long fight to beat inflation
• a new weapon in the fight against car crime
• fights between hostile clans
• fights between police and football fans
• his fight with cancer
• lawyers leading the fight for compensation for the injured workers
• the company's desperate fight for survival in a cut-throat market
• the world title fight between Tyson and Lewis
• their fight for a fair deal
• Did you two have a fight?
• He has lined up a world title fight against Lewis.
• He is unbeaten in 34 fights.
• In the fight for Lemburg, the Austrians lost.
• The government has released new figures in the fight against crime.
• The referee stopped the fight in the third round.
• They got tickets to watch the world title fight.
• a fist fight
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
fight / faɪt / noun
B1 [ C ] an argument or an occasion when someone uses physical force to try to defeat someone:
Jeff's always getting into/starting fights.
The older boys broke up (= stopped) the fight.
UK I had a stand-up fight with her (= we argued strongly) about the phone bill.
Have you got tickets for the big fight (= boxing competition) ?
He put up a fight when the police tried to arrest him.
B2 [ C ] a situation in which you use a lot of effort to defeat someone or achieve something, or to stop something happening:
We must continue the fight against homelessness.
He died last week after a long fight with cancer.
They put up a good fight (= played well) against a more experienced football team.
[ U ] the wish or ability to fight or act energetically:
The team came out on the field full of fight.
Word partners for fight noun
get into / have / pick / start a fight • put up a fight • lose / win a fight • continue / join / keep up / give up the fight • a brave / desperate / long / tough fight • in a fight • a fight about / against / for / over sth
© Cambridge University Press 2013
fights, fighting, fought
1) VERB If you fight something unpleasant, you try in a determined way to prevent it or stop it happening.
[V n] Mother Teresa is an elderly nun who has devoted her life to fighting poverty...
[V n] More units to fight forest fires are planned...
[V against n] I've spent a lifetime fighting against racism and prejudice.
N-COUNT: oft N against n
Fight is also a noun. ...the fight against drug addiction.
2) VERB If you fight for something, you try in a determined way to get it or achieve it.
[V for n] Our Government should be fighting for an end to food subsidies...
[V for n] Lee had to fight hard for his place on the expedition...
[V to-inf] I told him how we had fought to hold on to the company...
[V way prep/adv] The team has fought its way to the cup final.
N-COUNT: usu N for n
Fight is also a noun. I too am committing myself to continue the fight for justice.
3) V-RECIP If an army or group fights a battle with another army or group, they oppose each other with weapons. You can also say that two armies or groups fight a battle.
[pl-n V n over/for n] The two men fought a battle over land and water rights...
[V n with n] In the latest incident at the weekend police fought a gun battle with a gang which used hand grenades against them...
[V n for/over n] The Sioux had always fought other tribes for territorial rights. [Also pl-n V, V n]
4) VERB If a person or army fights in a battle or a war, they take part in it.
→ See also dogfight
He fought in the war and was taken prisoner by the Americans...
[V for n] If I were a young man I would sooner go to prison than fight for this country...
[V n] My father did leave his university to fight the Germans...
[V way prep/adv] Last month rebels fought their way into the capital.
fighting N-UNCOUNT More than nine hundred people have died in the fighting.
5) V-RECIP If one person fights with another, or fights them, the two people hit or kick each other because they want to hurt each other. You can also say that two people fight.
[V with n] As a child she fought with her younger sister...
[V n] I did fight him, I punched him but it was like hitting a wall...
[V n for n] He wrenched the crutch from Jacob, who didn't fight him for it...
[pl-n V] I refuse to act that way when my kids fight...
[pl-n V pron-recip] You get a lot of unruly drunks fighting each other.
N-COUNT: oft N with n
Fight is also a noun. He had had a fight with Smith and bloodied his nose.
6) V-RECIP If one person fights with another, or fights them, they have an angry disagreement or quarrel. You can also say that two people fight. [INFORMAL]
[V with n] She was always arguing with him and fighting with him...
[V n] Gwendolen started fighting her teachers...
[pl-n V about/over n] Mostly, they fight about paying bills. [Also pl-n V, V with n prep, V n prep]
Fight is also a noun. We think maybe he took off because he had a big fight with his dad the night before.
7) VERB If you fight your way to a place, you move towards it with great difficulty, for example because there are a lot of people or obstacles in your way.
[V way prep/adv] I fought my way into a carriage just before the doors closed...
[V way prep/adv] Peter fought his way through a blizzard to save one of the chickens.
8) N-COUNT A fight is a boxing match.
This was Hyer's last fight, for no one else challenged him...
The referee stopped the fight.
9) VERB To fight means to take part in a boxing match.
In a few hours' time one of the world's most famous boxers will be fighting in Britain for the first time...
[V n] I'd like to fight him because he's undefeated and I want to be the first man to beat him...
[V n for n] I'd like to fight him for the title.
10) VERB If you fight an election, you are a candidate in the election and try to win it.
[V n] The former party treasurer helped raise almost ₤40 million to fight the election campaign.
11) N-COUNT: usu sing You can use fight to refer to a contest such as an election or a sports match. [JOURNALISM]
In the fight for the US Presidency, round two was a disaster for George Bush.
12) VERB If you fight a case or a court action, you make a legal case against someone in a very determined way, or you put forward a defence when a legal case is made against you.
[V n] Watkins sued the Army and fought his case in various courts for 10 years...
[V n] The newspaper is fighting a damages action brought by the actress.
13) N-UNCOUNT Fight is the desire or ability to keep fighting.
I thought that we had a lot of fight in us.
14) VERB If you fight an emotion or desire, you try very hard not to feel it, show it, or act on it, but do not always succeed.
[V n] I desperately fought the urge to giggle...
[V with n] He fought with the urge to smoke one of the cigars he'd given up awhile ago...
[V to-inf] He fought to be patient with her.
15) PHRASE: V inflects If you fight for breath, you try to breathe but find it very difficult.
16) PHRASE: usu PHR after v If you have a fighting chance of doing or achieving something, it is possible that you will do or achieve it, but only if you make a great effort or are very lucky.
When they didn't shoot at me right away, I figured I had a fighting chance.
17) PHRASE: v-link PHR (emphasis) If you describe someone as fighting fit, you are emphasizing that they are very fit or healthy. [BRIT]
After a good night's sleep I feel fighting fit again.
18) PHRASE: V inflects Someone who is fighting for their life is making a great effort to stay alive, either when they are being physically attacked or when they are very ill.
He is still fighting for his life in hospital.
19) to fight a losing battle → see battle
fight to the finish → see finish
to fight fire with fire → see fire
to fight shy → see shy
- fight back
- fight down
- fight off
- fight out
2fight noun, pl fights
1 [count] : a violent physical struggle between opponents
• A fight broke out in the bar.
• a bar fight
• a street fight
• a knife fight [=a fight using knives]
• When he was young he was always getting into fights.
• It would be foolish to pick a fight [=start a fight] with that guy.
• a pillow fight [=a playful fight using pillows as weapons]
• a food fight [=a playful fight in which people throw food at each other]
• a snowball fight
- see also bullfight, dogfight, firefight, fistfight, gunfight
2 [count] : an argument or quarrel
• He got into another fight with his wife about money.
3 [count] : a boxing match
• a fight for the heavyweight title
- see also prizefight
4 [count] : a struggle to achieve a goal or to defeat something or someone
• We didn't win, but at least we put up a good fight.
• They are leading/joining the fight against cancer.
• the fight to defeat cancer
• He's in the fight of his political life in this election.
• She's in a fight for her life. [=she is struggling to stay alive]
5 [noncount] : a willingness to fight
• full of fight