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Webster 1913 Edition


Battle

Bat′tle

,
Adj.
Fertile. See
Battel
,
Adj.
[Obs.]

Bat′tle

,
Noun.
[OE.
bataille
,
bataile
, F.
bataille
battle, OF., battle, battalion, fr. L.
battalia
,
battualia
, the fighting and fencing exercises of soldiers and gladiators, fr.
batuere
to strike, beat. Cf.
Battalia
, 1st
Battel
, and see
Batter
,
Verb.
T.
]
1.
A general action, fight, or encounter, in which all the divisions of an army are or may be engaged; an engagement; a combat.
2.
A struggle; a contest;
as, the
battle
of life
.
The whole intellectual
battle
that had at its center the best poem of the best poet of that day.
H. Morley.
3.
A division of an army; a battalion.
[Obs.]
The king divided his army into three
battles
.
Bacon.
The cavalry, by way of distinction, was called the
battle
, and on it alone depended the fate of every action.
Robertson.
4.
The main body, as distinct from the van and rear; battalia.
[Obs.]
Hayward.
Battle
is used adjectively or as the first part of a self-explaining compound; as,
battle
brand, a “brand” or sword used in battle;
battle
cry;
battle
field;
battle
ground;
battle
array;
battle
song.
Battle piece
,
a painting, or a musical composition, representing a battle.
Battle royal
.
(a)
A fight between several gamecocks, where the one that stands longest is the victor.
Grose.
(b)
A contest with fists or cudgels in which more than two are engaged; a mêlée.
Thackeray.
Drawn battle
,
one in which neither party gains the victory.
To give battle
,
to attack an enemy.
To join battle
,
to meet the attack; to engage in battle.
Pitched battle
,
one in which the armies are previously drawn up in form, with a regular disposition of the forces.
Wager of battle
.
See under
Wager
,
Noun.
Syn. – Conflict; encounter; contest; action.
Battle
,
Combat
,
Fight
,
Engagement
. These words agree in denoting a close encounter between contending parties. Fight is a word of less dignity than the others. Except in poetry, it is more naturally applied to the encounter of a few individuals, and more commonly an accidental one; as, a street fight. A combat is a close encounter, whether between few or many, and is usually premeditated. A battle is commonly more general and prolonged. An engagement supposes large numbers on each side, engaged or intermingled in the conflict.

Bat′tle

(băt′t’l)
,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Battled
(-tl’d)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Battling
.]
[F.
batailler
, fr.
bataille
. See
Battle
,
Noun.
]
To join in battle; to contend in fight;
as, to
battle
over theories
.
To meet in arms, and
battle
in the plain.
Prior.

Bat′tle

,
Verb.
T.
To assail in battle; to fight.

Webster 1828 Edition


Battle

BAT'TLE

,
Noun.
[See Beat.] Owen supposes the Welsh batel, to be from tel, tight, stretched, compact, and the word primarily to have expressed the drawing of the bow. This is probably an error. The first battles of men were with clubs, or some weapons used in beating, striking. Hence the club of Hercules. And although the moderns use different weapons, still a battle is some mode of beating or striking.]
1.
A fight, or encounter between enemies, or opposing armies; an engagement. It is usually applied to armies or large bodies of men; but in popular language, the word is applied to an encounter between small bodies, between individuals, or inferior animals. It is also more generally applied to the encounters of land forces than of ships; the encounters of the latter being called engagements. But battle is applicable to any combat of enemies.
2.
A body of forces, or division of an army.
The main body, as distinct from the van and rear.
To give battle, is to attack an enemy; to join battle, is properly to meet the attack; but perhaps this distinction is not always observed.
A pitched battle is one in which the armies are previously drawn up in form, with a regular disposition of the forces.
To turn the battle to the gate, is to fight valiantly, and drive the enemy, who hath entered the city, back to the gate. Is.28.

BAT'TLE

,
Verb.
I.
To join in battle; to contend in fight; sometimes with it; as, to battle it.

BAT'TLE

,
Verb.
T.
To cover with armed force.

Definition 2022


Battle

Battle

See also: battle

English

Proper noun

Battle

  1. A habitational surname from places in England that have been sites of a battle.
  2. a town in East Sussex, supposed site of the Battle of Hastings.

Anagrams

battle

battle

See also: Battle

English

Alternative forms

Adjective

battle (comparative more battle, superlative most battle)

  1. (Britain dialectal, chiefly Scotland, Northern England, agriculture) Improving; nutritious; fattening.
    battle grass, battle pasture
  2. (Britain dialectal, chiefly Scotland, Northern England) Fertile; fruitful.
    battle soil, battle land
Derived terms

Verb

battle (third-person singular simple present battles, present participle battling, simple past and past participle battled)

  1. (transitive, Britain dialectal, chiefly Scotland, Northern England) To nourish; feed.
  2. (transitive, Britain dialectal, chiefly Scotland, Northern England) To render (for example soil) fertile or fruitful
Derived terms
Related terms

Etymology 2

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)).

Displaced native Old English hild (battle), Old English beadu (battle, war).

Alternative forms

  • batail (14th - 16th centuries)

Noun

battle (plural battles)

  1. A general action, fight, or encounter, in which all the divisions of an army are or may be engaged; an engagement; a combat.
  2. A struggle; a contest.
    the battle of life
    • (Can we date this quote?) Henry Morley (1822-1894):
      The whole intellectual battle that had at its centre the best poem of the best poet of that day.
    • 2011 November 3, Chris Bevan, Rubin Kazan 1-0 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport:
      In truth, Tottenham never really looked like taking all three points and this defeat means they face a battle to reach the knockout stageswith their next home game against PAOK Salonika on 30 November likely to prove decisive.
    • 2012, Clive James 'near the end' in cancer battle, ITV News, 21 June 2012:
      Australian broadcaster Clive James has admitted that he is losing his long-fought battle with leukaemia.
  3. (now rare) A division of an army; a battalion.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter x, in Le Morte Darthur, book II:
      THenne kyng Arthur made redy his hoost in x batails and Nero was redy in the felde afore the castel Tarabil with a grete hoost / & he had x batails with many mo peple than Arthur had
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon (1561-1626):
      The king divided his army into three battles.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Robertson (1721-1793):
      The cavalry, by way of distinction, was called the battle, and on it alone depended the fate of every action.
    • 2000, George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords, Bantam 2011, page 634:
      ‘I will have more than twelve thousand men. I mean to divide them into three battles and start up the causeway a half-day apart.’
  4. (obsolete) The main body, as distinct from the vanguard and rear; battalia.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hayward to this entry?)
Synonyms
Derived terms
Translations

Verb

battle (third-person singular simple present battles, present participle battling, simple past and past participle battled)

  1. (intransitive) To join in battle; to contend in fight
  2. Scientists always battle over theories.
    She has been battling against cancer for years.
  3. (transitive) To fight or struggle; to enter into a battle with.
    She has been battling cancer for years.
Translations

References

  • battle in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: Paris · expression · Duke · #735: battle · bound · York · impossible

Anagrams