Definitions

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

  • n. An intense altercation.
  • n. A battle involving many combatants.
  • n. A fight to the finish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fight involving three or more people, fought until one person (or sometimes team or faction) is left standing.
  • n. A heated discussion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A contest with fists or cudgels in which more than two are engaged; a mêlée.
  • adj. See under Battle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a noisy riotous fight

Etymologies

battle + royal, grand in scale.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • DEA officers and SPD narcs were engaged in a battle royal over who had blown Freddy’s cover.

    Ricochet

  • 249 Amongst the sights shown to Bulukiya, as he traverses the Seven Oceans, is a battle royal between the believing and the unbelieving Jinns, true Magian dualism, the eternal duello of the Two Roots or antagonistic Principles, Good and Evil, Hormuzd and Ahriman, which Milton has debased into a common-place modern combat fought also with cannon.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • "Orlanda's Hong Kong-trained and Gornt-trained and if you plan a clash with her over Line you'd better be prepared for a battle royal — if she's decided to try to grab him, which I don't know yet."

    Noble House

  • The ambition of every individual is quite the opposite, — to give least for most; and as a result, living in a tooth-and-nail society, battle royal is waged by the ambitious individuals.

    THE SCAB

  • No greater honor could have been paid to him than that he should have been chosen as their champion by the Italianissimi of his day in the battle royal with such a giant as Gluck, an honor richly deserved by a composer distinguished by multiplicity and beauty of ideas, dramatic insight, and ardent conviction.

    The Great Italian and French Composers

  • BOOK FOUR: MASTERY fourteen: the act begins fifteen: separation trial sixteen: the daughter of the voice seventeen: forces joined eighteen: battle royal

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice

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