What does war mean?

Definitions for war

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word war.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. war, warfarenoun

    the waging of armed conflict against an enemy

    "thousands of people were killed in the war"

  2. war, state of warnoun

    a legal state created by a declaration of war and ended by official declaration during which the international rules of war apply

    "war was declared in November but actual fighting did not begin until the following spring"

  3. war, warfarenoun

    an active struggle between competing entities

    "a price war"; "a war of wits"; "diplomatic warfare"

  4. warverb

    a concerted campaign to end something that is injurious

    "the war on poverty"; "the war against crime"

  5. warverb

    make or wage war


  1. warnoun

    Organized, large-scale, armed conflict between countries or between national, ethnic, or other sizeable groups, usually involving the engagement of military forces.

  2. warnoun

    A particular conflict of this kind.

  3. warnoun

    By extension, any conflict, or anything resembling a conflict.

  4. warnoun

    A particular card game for two players, notable for having its outcome predetermined by how the cards are dealt.

  5. warverb

    To engage in conflict (may be followed by "with" to specify the foe).

  6. warverb

    To carry on, as a contest; to wage.

    That thou mightest war a good warfare. uE0004693uE001 Tim. i. 18.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Warnoun

    War may be defined the exercise of violence under sovereign command against withstanders; force, authority, and resistance being the essential parts thereof. Violence, limited by authority, is sufficiently distinguished from robbery, and the like outrages; yet consisting in relation towards others, it necessarily requires a supposition of resistance, whereby the force of war becomes different from the violence inflicted upon slaves or yielding malefactors. Walter Raleigh

    Etymology: werre, old Dutch; guerre, Fr.

    On, you noblest English,
    Whose blood is fetcht from fathers of war proof. William Shakespeare.

    After a denunciation or indication of war, the war is no more confined to the place of the quarrel, but left at large. Francis Bacon.

    I saw the figure and armour of him, that headed the peasants in the war upon Bern, with the several weapons found on his followers. Addison.

    The god of love inhabits there,
    With all his rage, and dread, and grief, and care;
    His complement of stores, and total war. Matthew Prior.

    On th’ embattled ranks the waves return,
    And overwhelm the war. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. xii.

    Thine almighty word leapt down from heaven, as a fierce man of war into the midst of a land of destruction. Wisdom.

    Duncan’s horses
    Turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
    Contending ’gainst obedience, as they would
    Make war with man. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

  2. To Warverb

    To make war upon. A word not any longer used.

    And them long time before great Nimrod was,
    That first the world with sword and fire warred. Edmund Spenser.

    To them the same was render’d, to the end,
    To war the Scot, and borders to defend. Samuel Daniel, Civ. War.

  3. To Warverb

    To make war; to be in a state of hostility.

    Etymology: from the noun

    Was this a face,
    To be expos’d against the warring winds? William Shakespeare.

    Why should I war without the walls of Troy,
    That find such cruel battle here within? William Shakespeare.

    Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord. ——
    —— Have you that holy feeling in your soul,
    To counsel me to make my peace with God,
    And are you yet to your own soul’s so blind,
    That you will war with God, by murd’ring me? William Shakespeare.

    He teacheth my hands to war. 2 Sam. xxii.

    This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. 1 Tim. i. 18.

    He limited his forces, to proceed in aid of the Britons, but in no wise to war upon the French. Francis Bacon, Hen. VII.

    We seem ambitious God’s whole work t’ undo;
    With new diseases on ourselves we war,
    And with new physick, a worse engine far. John Donne.

    His next design
    Was all the Theban race in arms to join,
    And war on Theseus. Dryden.

    To the island of Delos, by being reckoned a sacred place, nations warring with one another resorted with their goods, and traded as in a neutral country. John Arbuthnot, on Coins.


  1. War

    "The War is a song by the American rock band Angels & Airwaves. It was the fourth single from their debut studio album, We Don't Need to Whisper (2006), released on Geffen Records. The song impacted radio on October 10, 2006. It peaked at number nineteen on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2007. Tom DeLonge has described this song as anti-war, with specific references to the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. "The War" was the last song the band would play, during their We Don't Need to Whisper concerts, with Tom making a speech during the bridge.


  1. war

    War is a large-scale armed conflict between countries, regions, or different groups, typically involving the use of military force and resulting in widespread destruction, casualties, and significant social, economic, and political repercussions. It represents a state of extreme hostility and antagonism, with the aim of achieving specific objectives such as territorial control, ideological dominance, or the resolution of disputes through force. War is often propelled by complex factors such as resource scarcity, political ideologies, power struggles, or historical tensions, and can take various forms including conventional warfare, guerrilla tactics, or cyber warfare.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Waradjective

    ware; aware

  2. Warnoun

    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

  3. Warnoun

    a condition of belligerency to be maintained by physical force. In this sense, levying war against the sovereign authority is treason

  4. Warnoun

    instruments of war

  5. Warnoun

    forces; army

  6. Warnoun

    the profession of arms; the art of war

  7. Warnoun

    a state of opposition or contest; an act of opposition; an inimical contest, act, or action; enmity; hostility

  8. Warverb

    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

  9. Warverb

    to contend; to strive violently; to fight

  10. Warverb

    to make war upon; to fight

  11. Warverb

    to carry on, as a contest; to wage

  12. Etymology: [OE. & AS. werre; akin to OHG. werra scandal, quarrel, sedition, werran to confound, mix, D. warren, G. wirren, verwirren, to embroil, confound, disturb, and perhaps to E. worse; cf. OF. werre war, F. querre, of Teutonic origin. Cf. Guerrilla, Warrior.]


  1. War

    War is an organised and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states and/or non-state actors. It is characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence or intervention. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. In 2003, Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley identified war as the sixth biggest problem facing the society of mankind for the next fifty years. In the 1832 treatise On War, Prussian military general and theoretician Carl von Clausewitz defined war as follows: "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will." While some scholars see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human nature, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural or ecological circumstances. Some scholars argue that the practice of war is not linked to any single type of political organization or society. Rather, as discussed by John Keegan in his History of Warfare, war is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it. Another argument suggests that since there are human societies in which warfare does not exist, humans may not be naturally disposed for warfare, which emerges under particular circumstances. The ever changing technologies and potentials of war extend along a historical continuum. At the one end lies the endemic warfare of the Paleolithic with its stones and clubs, and the naturally limited loss of life associated with the use of such weapons. Found at the other end of this continuum is nuclear warfare, along with the recently developed possible outcome of its use, namely the potential risk of the complete extinction of the human species.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. War

    wawr, n. a state of opposition or contest: a contest between states carried on by arms: open hostility: the profession of arms: (rare) army, warlike preparations, warlike outfit.—v.i. to make war: to contend: to fight:—pr.p. war′ring; pa.t. and pa.p. warred.—ns. War′-cry, a cry or signal used in war; War′-dance, a dance engaged in by some savage tribes before going to war; War′fāre, armed contest, military life; War′fārer; War′fāring; War′-horse, a charger, a horse used in battle.—adj. War′like, fond of war, pertaining to or threatening war: martial, military.—ns. War′likeness; War′man (rare), a warrior.—adj. War′-marked (Shak.), experienced in war.—ns. War′-mong′er (Spens.), a mercenary soldier; War′-off′ice, the English military bureau or department; War′-paint, paint applied to the face and person by savages, indicating that they are going to war: (slang) full-dress, equipment; War′-path, among the Red Indians, the path followed on a military expedition, the expedition itself; War′-proof (rare), fitness to be a soldier; War′rior, a soldier, a veteran:—fem. War′rioress (rare); War′-ship, a vessel for war; War′-song, a song sung by men about to fight: a song celebrating brave deeds in war; War′-tax, a tax levied for purposes of war; War′-thought (Shak.), martial deliberation.—adjs. War′-wast′ed, laid waste or ravaged by war; War′-wea′ried, -worn, wearied, worn, with military service—of a veteran.—ns. War′-whoop, a cry uttered by savages on going into battle; War′-wolf, a medieval military engine used in defending fortresses; Man′-of-war (see Man).—War Department, in Great Britain, a department of the state under a Cabinet Minister, the Secretary of State for War, assisted by a permanent and a parliamentary under-secretary, having control of everything connected with the army; War of Liberation, the war of independence carried on by Prussia, with the help of Russia and Great Britain, against Napoleon in 1813.—Declaration of war, that public announcement of war by a duly organised state or kingdom which is necessary to constitute an enemy; Declare war, to announce war publicly; Holy war (see Holy); Make war, to carry on hostilities; Napoleonic Wars, a general name for the wars of France dating from the campaigns of Napoleon in Italy (1796) to his overthrow in 1815; Private war, warfare waged between persons in their individual capacity, as by duelling, family feuds, &c.; Sacred Wars, in ancient Greek history, wars against states judged guilty of sacrilege by the Amphictyonic Council; Seven weeks' war, or Seven days' war, the Austro-Prussian war of 1866. [A.S. werre, influenced by O. Fr. werre (Fr. guerre), which is from Old High Ger. werra, quarrel.]

  2. War

    wawr, adj. (Spens.) worse.—v.t. (Scot.) to defeat.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. war

    The sure result of the existence of armed men.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. War

    Hostile conflict between organized groups of people.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz

  1. WAR

    A wholesale means of making heroes which, if planned in a small way, would produce only murderers.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. war

    A contest between princes or states, which, not being determinable otherwise, is referred to the decision of the sword. It may exist without a declaration on either side, and is either civil, defensive, or offensive.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. war

    A contest between nations or states, carried on by force, either for defense or for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce or acquisition of territory, or for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other. It is the armed conflicts of sovereign powers, declared and open hostilities. Wars are various in their occasions and objects; but in all cases, the aim of each contending party is to weaken and overthrow the opposing party. At one time, the art of war was supposed to consist very much in wearing out the enemy by a slow process of exhaustion, and thus wars were much protracted. But more recently, the greatest generals have adopted the method of rather endeavoring to strike sudden and terrible blows, by which the war is sooner brought to a termination, and this method, although it may often have been adopted without regard to considerations of humanity, is, in all probability, less productive of suffering to mankind than the other. Among rude nations, wars are conducted by tumultuary hosts, suddenly congregated, and in general, either after defeat or victory, soon dispersed. But the wars of the more civilized and powerful nations have long been conducted by armies carefully trained and disciplined; and in the case of maritime powers, by means of fleets at sea as well as of armies on land. Preparation for war among such nations requires not only the forming and training of the army, but vast provision in many various ways of the means and matériel of war. Much science and skill are also applied to the conduct of military operations, and the principles upon which they ought to be conducted have been carefully investigated and theories tested by an examination of the history of the most important campaigns. See Strategy and Tactics.

Editors Contribution

  1. warnoun

    Denoting people or their language in army regulation with receivable accounts from an Autonomous Republic supporting their scholars. 1.) a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state. A particular armed conflict state of competition, conflict, or hostility between different people or groups to deal with or end a unpleasant or undesirable situation or condition.

    The truth is at war against lies, just as the saints are against immoral murderous.

    Etymology: Sports

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on April 11, 2024  

Suggested Resources

  1. war

    The war symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the war symbol and its characteristic.

  2. war

    Song lyrics by war -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by war on the Lyrics.com website.

  3. WAR

    What does WAR stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the WAR acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. WAR

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, War is ranked #69170 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The War surname appeared 284 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname War.

    44% or 125 total occurrences were White.
    20.4% or 58 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    17.2% or 49 total occurrences were Asian.
    14% or 40 total occurrences were Black.
    2.4% or 7 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1.7% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'war' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #300

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'war' in Written Corpus Frequency: #512

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'war' in Nouns Frequency: #85

Anagrams for war »

  1. raw

  2. Rwa

  3. RWA

How to pronounce war?

How to say war in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of war in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of war in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of war in a Sentence

  1. Naim Qassem:

    At the regional level, we see as unlikely an American war against Iran for many reasons, the most important of them being firstly that Iran is a strong state with important defensive capabilities.

  2. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu:

    If we had delayed a bit more (in launching operations), their intention was to launch a much more comprehensive civil war.

  3. Gary Morgenthaler:

    This is a new platform war with huge stakes, it ultimately challenges search and the market capitalization of Google.

  4. Maura Zucchelli:

    We are used to seeing people die, but normally it feels like you are accompanying them at the end of the road, now you go to people's homes, and within 48-72 hours the patient is dead. It's draining. It's like war.

  5. Eliot Engel:

    To avoid having to justify its actions to Congress, The Trump administration falsely claims Congress had already authorized the strike under the 2002 Iraq war resolution. This legal theory is absurd, the 2002 authorization was passed to deal with Saddam Hussein. This law had nothing to do with Iran or Iranian government officials in Iraq. To suggest that 18 years later this authorization could justify killing an Iranian official stretches the law far beyond anything Congress ever intended.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for war

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"war." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/war>.

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  • Jackson Key
    Jackson Key
    Who even likes war
    LikeReply7 years ago

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a meter that shows mileage traversed
A odometer
B endeavor
C downsizing
D intelligence

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