English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

Definitions of war

war (wɔː



  1. open armed conflict between two or more parties, nations, or states related adjectives ▶ Related adjectives: belligerent martial
  2. a particular armed conflict   ⇒  ■ the 1973 war in the Middle East
  3. the techniques of armed conflict as a study, science, or profession
  4. any conflict or contest   ⇒  ■ a war of wits,   ⇒  ■ the war against crime
  5. (modifier) of, relating to, resulting from, or characteristic of war   ⇒  ■ a war hero,   ⇒  ■ war damage,   ⇒  ■ a war story
  6. See to have had a good war

  7. See in the wars



Word forms:   wars,  warring or ,  warred
  1. (intransitive) to conduct a war

Word Origin

C12: from Old Northern French werre (variant of Old French guerre), of Germanic origin; related to Old High German werra


View thesaurus entry
= fight, battle, clash, wage war, campaign, struggle, combat, contend, go to war, do battle, make war, take up arms, bear arms, cross swords, conduct a war, engage in hostilities, carry on hostilities, contest

Quotations including 'war'

  • "War is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means" [Karl von Clausewitz
  • "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed" [Mao Zedong
  • "There was never a good war, or a bad peace" [Benjamin Franklin]
  • "War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading" [Thomas Hardy
  • "He that makes a good war makes a good peace" [George Herbert
  • "O I know they make war because they want peace; they hate so that they may live; and they destroy the present to make the world safe for the future. When have they not done and said they did it for that?" [Elizabeth Smart
  • "For what can war but endless war still breed?" [John Milton
  • "Above all, this book is not concerned with Poetry,The subject of it is War, and the Pity of War.The Poetry is in the Pity" [Wilfred Owen
  • "As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular" [Oscar Wilde
  • "In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers" [Neville Chamberlain]
  • "War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men" [Georges Clemenceau]
  • "War is like love, it always finds a way" [Bertolt Brecht
  • "It is easier to make war than to make peace" [Georges Clemenceau]
  • "During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man" [Thomas Hobbes
  • "History is littered with the wars which everybody knew would never happen" [Enoch Powell
  • "Let slip the dogs of war" [William Shakespeare
  • "War is the trade of kings" [John Dryden
  • "The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it" [George Orwell
  • "Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come" [Carl Sandburg
  • "Since war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed" [Constitution of UNESCO]
  • "The next war will be fought with atom bombs and the one after that with spears" [Harold Urey]
  • "A bayonet is a weapon with a worker at each end" [pacifist slogan]
  • "Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity" [anti-war graffiti]
  • "War will cease when men refuse to fight" [pacifist slogan]
  • "After each war there is a little less democracy to save" [Brooks Atkinson
  • "What if someone gave a war and Nobody came?Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again" [Allen Ginsberg
  • "In the fall the war was always there but we did not go to it any more" [Ernest Hemingway
  • "The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb" [Jorge Luis Borges]
  • "All is fair in love and war"



abbreviation for

  1. Warwickshire

Translations for 'war'

  • British English: war A war is a period of fighting between countries.They've been at war for the last 15 years.wɔː NOUN
  • Arabic: حَرْب
  • Brazilian Portuguese: guerra
  • Chinese: 战争
  • Croatian: rat
  • Czech: válka
  • Danish: krig
  • Dutch: oorlog
  • European Spanish: guerra
  • Finnish: sota
  • French: guerre
  • German: Krieg
  • Greek: πόλεμος
  • Italian: guerra
  • Japanese: 戦争
  • Korean: 전쟁
  • Norwegian: krig
  • Polish: wojna
  • Portuguese: guerra
  • Romanian: război războaie
  • Russian: война
  • Spanish: guerra
  • Swedish: krig
  • Thai: สงคราม
  • Turkish: savaş
  • Ukrainian: війна
  • Vietnamese: chiến tranh

Example Sentences Including 'war'

Not surprisingly, Adrina's first appearance at the war council caused a stir, even more than Tristan's inclusion.
Jennifer Fallon TREASON KEEP (2001)
She's heading for Talabar to bring her father's cannon into the war.
Jennifer Fallon TREASON KEEP (2001)
The vast plain had been transformed from a war camp into a thing of beauty.
Jennifer Fallon TREASON KEEP (2001)


Log in to comment on this word.