American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A minor battle in war, as one between small forces or between large forces avoiding direct conflict.
- n. A minor or preliminary conflict or dispute: a skirmish over the rules before the debate began.
- v. To engage in a minor battle or dispute.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An irregular fight, especially between small parties; an engagement, in the presence of two armies, between small detachments advanced for the purpose either of drawing on a battle or of concealing by their fire the movements of the troops in the rear.
- n. Defense.
- n. Any contention or contest; a preliminary trial of strength, etc.
- n. Synonyms Rencounter, Brush, etc. See encounter.
- To fight irregularly, as in a skirmish; fight in small parties or along a skirmishline.
- To defend one's self; strike out in defense or attack.
- To be in a position of guarded and cautious attack; fence.
- n. military A brief battle between small groups, usually part of a longer or larger battle or war.
- n. figuratively By extension, any minor dispute.
- n. A type of outdoor military style game using paintball or similar weapons.
- v. To engage in a minor battle or dispute
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To fight slightly or in small parties; to engage in a skirmish or skirmishes; to act as skirmishers.
- n. A slight fight in war; a light or desultory combat between detachments from armies, or between detached and small bodies of troops.
- n. A slight contest.
- n. a minor short-term fight
- v. engage in a skirmish
- Middle English skirmisshe, alteration (influenced by Middle English skirmisshen, to brandish a weapon) of skarmush, from Old French eskarmouch, from Old Italian scaramuccia, of Germanic origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“This skirmish is the first which has taken place on the soil of this State.”
“For me, that they are weapons of questionable efficacy in this ideological skirmish is the mark of their most indispensable value.”
“The main skirmish between French and Indians I know of in that era occurred upriver, at Natchez.”
“Interesting use of the word skirmish while troops are fighting this is what's going on in Washington as well.”
“I143 Inf.Oct. 8, '623killed in skirmish Shenandoah Val.,”
“The ensuing skirmish is short and sharp but relatively harmless.”
“This skirmish is exactly similar to the battles of the Homeric warriors, among whom, in the flight of one, the pursuit by another, and the dialogue held between them, there is vividly represented the style of ancient warfare.”
“Then there is the longer term skirmish over funding for the next fiscal year.”
“Any short-term skirmish for influence in Afghanistan will always be won by Pakistan.”
“The skirmish is the latest twist in a seven-year dispute that has become the most complex and expensive proceeding in the WTO's history.”
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