Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An encounter between opposing forces.
  • noun Armed fighting; combat.
  • noun A match between two combatants.
  • noun A protracted controversy or struggle.
  • noun An intense competition.
  • intransitive verb To engage in or as if in battle.
  • intransitive verb To fight against.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fight, hostile encounter, or engagement between opposing forces on land or sea; an important and systematic engagement between independent armies or fleets.
  • noun An encounter between two persons; a duel or single combat.
  • noun A fight or encounter between animals, especially when pitted against each other for the amusement of spectators.
  • noun Warfare; hostile action; actual conflict with enemies: as, wounds received or honors gained in battle.
  • noun Any contest or conflict; struggle for mastery or victory: as, the battle of life.
  • noun An army prepared for or engaged in fight.
  • noun A body of forces, or division of an army; a battalion.
  • noun More specifically— The main or middle body of an army or fleet, as distinguished from the van and rear.
  • noun That portion of the army, wherever placed and of whatever consisting, which is regarded as of main importance.
  • noun A formidable array similar to an army in battle order.
  • noun A fight of game-cocks, in which more than two are engaged.
  • noun Synonyms Battle, Engagement, Conflict, Fight, Combat, Contest, Action. Battle is a general term, and the most common. It is the appropriate word for great engagements: as, the battle of Waterloo. A battle may last merely a few hours or for days: as, the battle of Gettysburg lasted three days. Engagement is in technical military usage practically equivalent to battle, but it is a less forcible word. Conflict, literally, a clashing together, is a strong word, implying fierce physical encounter. Fight has the energy of a monosyllable; it denotes actual conflict. A man may take part in a battle without actually fighting. A battle may include many fights: as, the fight at the flag-staff in the battle of the Alma; or it may itself be described as a fight. Combat, like conflict, is a word of more dignity than fight; it is by its history suggestive of a struggle between two, as persons, animals, squadrons, armies. Contest is a very general word, of uncertain strength, but often joined with a strong adjective: as, a stubborn contest. An action is a minor or incidental act of war, a single act of fighting: as, the whole action lasted but an hour. All these words apply equally to operations by land or by sea. See encounter and strife.
  • To furnish or strengthen with battlements; embattle.
  • See battel.
  • To join or engage in battle; contend in fight; fight: as, to battle with wolves.
  • To struggle; contend; strive for mastery: either absolutely or with for, with, or against: as, to battle with the winds; to battle for freedom, or against adversity; to battle with ignorance.
  • To embattle; put into battle array.
  • To fight for.
  • To give battle to; fight against; contend with; fight.
  • To beat (clothes) with a battler or beetle in washing.
  • To nourish; feed.
  • To render fertile or fruitful, as the soil.
  • To grow fat; thrive.
  • To become fertile or fruitful, as soil.
  • In agriculture: Improving; nutritious; fattening: as, battle grass; battle pasture. Fertile; fruitful: as, battle soil; battle land.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A general action, fight, or encounter, in which all the divisions of an army are or may be engaged; an engagement; a combat.
  • noun A struggle; a contest.
  • noun obsolete A division of an army; a battalion.
  • noun obsolete The main body, as distinct from the van and rear; battalia.
  • noun a painting, or a musical composition, representing a battle.
  • noun A contest with fists or cudgels in which more than two are engaged; a mêlée.
  • noun one in which neither party gains the victory.
  • noun to attack an enemy.
  • noun to meet the attack; to engage in battle.
  • noun one in which the armies are previously drawn up in form, with a regular disposition of the forces.
  • noun See under Wager, n.
  • adjective obsolete Fertile. See battel, a.
  • transitive verb To assail in battle; to fight.
  • intransitive verb To join in battle; to contend in fight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A general action, fight, or encounter, in which all the divisions of an army are or may be engaged; an engagement; a combat.
  • noun A struggle; a contest.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English batel, from Old French bataille, from Vulgar Latin *battālia, from Late Latin battuālia, fighting and fencing exercises, from Latin battuere, to beat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English batel, from Old French bataille, from Vulgar Latin *battālia, from Late Latin battuālia ("fighting and fencing exercises"), from Latin battuō ("to strike, beat"), from Gaulish (compare Welsh bathu ("to strike money, coin, mint")), from Proto-Indo-European *bhau(t)- ‘to knock’ (compare Latin fatuus ("silly, knocked silly"), Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌿𐌸𐍃 (bauþs, "deaf, numb, dumbstruck")).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Early Modern English batell, probably from Middle English *batel ("flourishing"), from Old English *batol ("improving, tending to be good"), from batian ("to get better, improve"), from Proto-Germanic *batōnan, *bōtijanan (“to improve, atone, be favourable”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰAd- (“good”) +‎ -le. Related to North Frisian bate, baatsje ("to get better"), Dutch baten ("to benefit, avail, profit"), Low German batten ("to be sly"). Compare batten ("to improve, become better, fatten, flourish"). More at better.

Examples

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