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

  • noun A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
  • noun The period of such conflict.
  • noun The techniques and procedures of war; military science.
  • noun A condition of active antagonism or contention.
  • noun A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious.
  • intransitive verb To wage or carry on warfare.
  • intransitive verb To be in a state of hostility or rivalry; contend.
  • idiom (at war) In an active state of conflict or contention.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To defeat; worst.
  • A Middle English form of ware.
  • Same as worse.
  • A Middle English form of were.
  • To make or carry on war; carry on hostilities; fight.
  • To contend; strive violently; be in a state of opposition.
  • To make war upon; oppose, as in war; contend against.
  • To carry on, as a contest.
  • noun A contest beween nations or states (international war), or between parties in the same state (civil war), carried on by force of arms.
  • noun A state of active opposition, hostility, or contest: as, to be at war (that is, engaged in active hostilities).
  • noun Any kind of contest or conflict; contention; strife: as, a wordy war.
  • noun The profession of arms; the art of war.
  • noun Forces; army. Compare battle.
  • noun Warlike outfit.
  • noun Specifically— In Roman history, the war between Sulla and Marius (commencing 88 b. c.) or that between Pompey and Cæsar (commencing 49 b. c.)
  • noun In English history, the war of the great rebellion. See rebellion.
  • noun In United States history, the war of secession. See secession.
  • noun of 1828–9, ending in the defeat of Turkey;
  • noun of 1853–6 (see Crimean);
  • noun of 1877–8, between Russia and its allies (Rumania, etc.) and Turkey, resulting in the defeat of Turkey and the reconstruction of southeastern Europe.
  • noun 343–341 b. c.
  • noun 326–304 b. c.
  • noun 298–290 b. c., ending in the triumph of Rome.

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

  • adjective obsolete Ware; aware.
  • intransitive verb To make war; to invade or attack a state or nation with force of arms; to carry on hostilities; to be in a state by violence.
  • intransitive verb To contend; to strive violently; to fight.
  • transitive verb rare To make war upon; to fight.
  • transitive verb rare To carry on, as a contest; to wage.
  • noun A contest between nations or states, carried on by force, whether for defence, for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce, for the acquisition of territory, for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other, or for any other purpose; armed conflict of sovereign powers; declared and open hostilities.
  • noun (Law) A condition of belligerency to be maintained by physical force. In this sense, levying war against the sovereign authority is treason.
  • noun Poetic Instruments of war.
  • noun Poetic Forces; army.
  • noun The profession of arms; the art of war.
  • noun a state of opposition or contest; an act of opposition; an inimical contest, act, or action; enmity; hostility.
  • noun a war between different sections or parties of the same country or nation.
  • noun See under Holy.
  • noun (Naut.) See in the Vocabulary.
  • noun a war between independent sovereign states.
  • noun a cry or signal used in war.
  • noun a dance among savages preliminary to going to war. Among the North American Indians, it is begun by some distinguished chief, and whoever joins in it thereby enlists as one of the party engaged in a warlike excursion.


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

[Middle English warre, from Old North French werre, of Germanic origin; see wers- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English werre, from Late Old English werre, wyrre "armed conflict" from Old Northern French werre (compare Old French guerre, guerre, whence modern French guerre), from Frankish *werra (“riot, disturbance, quarrel”) from Proto-Germanic *werrō (“mixture, mix-up, confusion”), from Proto-Indo-European *wers- (“to mix up, confuse, beat, thresh”). Akin to Old High German werra ("confusion, strife, quarrel") (German verwirren (“to confuse”)), Old Saxon werran ("to confuse, perplex"), Dutch war ("confusion, disarray"), Old English wyrsa, wiersa ("worse"), Old Norse verri ("worse") (originally "confounded, mixed up"). Compare Latin versus ("against, turned"), past participle of vertere ("turn, change, overthrow, destroy"). More at worse, wurst.


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  • Raw in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • "Often war is waged only in order to show valor; thus an inner dignity is ascribed to war itself, and even some philosophers have praised it as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, 'War is an evil in as much as it produces more wicked men than it takes away.'" - Immanuel Kant

    December 11, 2007

  • Can't see the word trench without thinking of World War I. See Free Association.

    February 4, 2008

  • War is a card game for two or more players. It uses a standard Western fifty-two-playing card deck. It is most often played as a children's game, because of its simplicity. The cards are divided evenly, with each player's cards remaining face-down. Each player shows his or her top card; whoever has the highest card takes the other cards shown and places them at the bottom of his or her deck. Aces can be high or low, which should be decided before the game begins. In case of a tie, each player plays three face-down cards and one face-up card, and these face-up cards decide who will receive all the cards. This is called a "war". If there is another tie, the process is repeated, etcetera. In all cases of ties, face-down cards are exposed before being collected. In some variations, smaller numbers of face-down cards are played (for example, one card is placed face down, while the second is played face up). In one blood-thirsty variation, the number of face-down cards equals the pip value of the cards, with face cards being ten and ace eleven.

    The player who gets all the cards is the winner. In one variation, a set number of ties won will decide.


    February 18, 2008

  • The Sanskrit word for "war" means "desire for more cows."

    May 7, 2008

  • Yes, I have no cows.

    May 8, 2008

  • Yes, I have no cows.

    May 8, 2008

  • "Amid the gaiety and excitement, the dinners and fancy dress parties on board, it was almost easy to forget that they were going to a seat of war, where men had died and were still dying in their scores from cholera, enteric fever, shot and shell. Some ladies, such as Lady Agnes Paget, were married to officers at the front and could therefore escape the label of 'war tourists'."

    —Annabel Venning, Following the Drum: The Lives of Army Wives and Daughters Past and Present (London: Headline, 2005), 184

    May 18, 2010