Battle


Battle
Battle Bat"tle, n. [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}, v. 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. [1913 Webster]

2. A struggle; a contest; as, the battle of life. [1913 Webster]

The whole intellectual battle that had at its center the best poem of the best poet of that day. --H. Morley. [1913 Webster]

3. A division of an army; a battalion. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The king divided his army into three battles. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

The cavalry, by way of distinction, was called the battle, and on it alone depended the fate of every action. --Robertson. [1913 Webster]

4. The main body, as distinct from the van and rear; battalia. [Obs.] --Hayward. [1913 Webster]

Note: 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; battlefield; battle ground; battle array; battle song. [1913 Webster]

{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 m[^e]l['e]e. --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}, n. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Conflict; encounter; contest; action.

Usage: {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. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

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  • battle — battle1 [bat′ l] n. [ME & OFr bataille < VL battalia < L battualia, exercises of gladiators and soldiers in fighting and fencing < battuere: see BATTER1] 1. a fight, esp. a large scale engagement, between armed forces on land, at sea, or …   English World dictionary

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