- a battle or combat.
- any contest or struggle: a fight for recovery from an illness.
- an angry argument or disagreement: Whenever we discuss politics, we end up in a fight.
- Boxing. a bout or contest.
- a game or diversion in which the participants hit or pelt each other with something harmless: a pillow fight; a water fight.
- ability, will, or inclination to fight: There was no fight left in him.
verb (used without object), fought, fight·ing.
- to engage in battle or in single combat; attempt to defend oneself against or to subdue, defeat, or destroy an adversary.
- to contend in any manner; strive vigorously for or against something: He fought bravely against despair.
verb (used with object), fought, fight·ing.
- to contend with in battle or combat; war against: England fought Germany.
- to contend with or against in any manner: to fight despair; to fight the passage of a bill.
- to carry on (a battle, duel, etc.).
- to maintain (a cause, quarrel, etc.) by fighting or contending.
- to make (one’s way) by fighting or striving.
- to cause or set (a boxer, animal, etc.) to fight.
- to manage or maneuver (troops, ships, guns, planes, etc.) in battle.
- fight it out, to fight until a decision is reached: Let them fight it out among themselves.
- fight shy of. shy1(def 12).
- fight with windmills. tilt1(def 18).
verb fights, fighting or fought
- to oppose or struggle against (an enemy) in battle
- to oppose or struggle against (a person, thing, cause, etc) in any manner
- (tr) to engage in or carry on (a battle, contest, etc)
- (when intr often foll by for) to uphold or maintain (a cause, ideal, etc) by fighting or strugglingto fight for freedom
- (tr) to make or achieve (a way) by fighting
- (intr) boxing
- to box, as for a living
- to use aggressive rough tactics
- to engage (another or others) in combat
- fight it out to contend or struggle until a decisive result is obtained
- fight shy of to keep aloof from
- a battle, struggle, or physical combat
- a quarrel, dispute, or contest
- resistance (esp in the phrase to put up a fight)
- the desire to take part in physical combat (esp in the phrase to show fight)
- a boxing match
Old English feohte, gefeoht “a fight;” see fight (v.). Cf. Old Frisian fiucht, Old Saxon fehta, Dutch gevecht, Old High German gifeht, German Gefecht.
Old English feohtan “to fight” (class III strong verb; past tense feaht, past participle fohten), from Proto-Germanic *fekhtanan (cf. Old High German fehtan, German fechten, Middle Dutch and Dutch vechten, Old Frisian fiuhta “to fight”), from PIE *pek- “to pluck out” (wool or hair), apparently with a notion of “pulling roughly” (cf. Greek pekein “to comb, shear,” pekos “fleece, wool;” Persian pashm “wool, down,” Latin pectere “to comb,” Sanskrit paksman- “eyebrows, hair”).
Spelling substitution of -gh- for a “hard H” sound was a Middle English scribal habit, especially before -t-. In some late Old English examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh. To fight back “resist” is recorded from 1890.
Settle a dispute by fighting, either physically or verbally. For example, The two sides couldn’t agree on a budget but were determined to fight it out to the end. [Mid-1500s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with fight
- fight fire with fire
- fighting chance
- fighting words
- fight it out
- fight off
- fight shy of
- fight tooth and nail
- can’t fight city hall