see also: War, WAR
  • (RP) IPA: /wɔː/
  • (GA) IPA: /wɔɹ/
  • (obsolete) IPA: /wɑɹ/


  1. (uncountable) Organized, large-scale, armed conflict between countries or between national, ethnic, or other sizeable groups, usually involving the engagement of military forces.
    The war was largely between Sunni and Shia militants.
    • 1917, Henry Ford, chapter 17, in My Life and Work:
      Nobody can deny that war is a profitable business for those who like that kind of money. War is an orgy of money, just as it is an orgy of blood.
    • 1944 June 27, Herbert Hoover, speech in Chicago, Illinois, to the 23rd Republican National Convention; quoted in Linda Carol Harms Case, Bold Beliefs in Camouflage: A–Z Briefings: A Valuable Resource Highlighting an Extraordinary Collection of Prayers, Military Quotations, Scripture Verses, Bible Stories, Hymns, and Testimonies, Relevant to Core Values and Keywords Used by Chaplains, Leaders, Veterans, and Other Members of the American Armed Forces, Victoria, B.C.; Neche, N.D.: FriesenPress, January 2013, ISBN 978-1-77097-632-0, page 203:
      Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die. It is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.
    • 2007, Carlos Ramirez-Faria, Concise Encyclopaedia of World History:
      Germany declared war on France, who reciprocated, on August 3 [1939], and England declared war on Germany on August 4, when Belgium was already under invasion.
  2. (countable) A particular conflict of this kind.
    • 1865, Herman Melville, "The Surrender at Appomattox":
      All human tribes glad token see
      In the close of the wars of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
    • 1999, Bill Clinton at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C, November 8 1999:
      A second challenge will be to implement, with our allies, a plan of stability in the Balkans, so that the region's bitter ethnic problems can no longer be exploited by dictators and Americans do not have to cross the Atlantic again to fight in another war.
  3. (countable, by extension) Any conflict, or anything resembling a conflict.
    You look like you've been through the wars.
    1. (figuratively) A campaign against something.
      The "war on drugs" is a campaign against the use of narcotic drugs.
      The "war on terror" is a campaign against terrorist crime.
      In the US, conservatives rail against the "war on Christmas".
    2. (business, countable) A bout of fierce competition in trade.
      I reaped the benefit of the car dealerships' price war, getting my car for far less than it's worth.
      The cellular phone companies were engaged in a freebie war, each offering various services thrown in when one purchased a plan.
  4. (obsolete, uncountable) Instruments of war.
    • His complement of stores, and total war.
  5. (obsolete) Armed forces.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 10”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      On thir imbattelld ranks the Waves return,
      And overwhelm thir Warr
  6. (uncountable) A particular card game for two players, notable for having its outcome predetermined by how the cards are dealt.
Antonyms Related terms

Translations Translations Translations Verb

war (wars, present participle warring; past and past participle warred)

  1. (intransitive) To engage in conflict (may be followed by "with" to specify the foe).
    • circa 1599 William Shakespeare, King Henry V, act III, scene 1:
      Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more . . .
      Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
      And teach them how to war.
    • 1882, George Bernard Shaw, Cashel Byron's Profession, ch. 14:
      This vein of reflection, warring with his inner knowledge that he had been driven by fear and hatred . . ., produced an exhausting whirl in his thoughts.
    • To war the Scot, and borders to defend.
  2. To carry on, as a contest; to wage.
    • Bible, Timothy 1:18
      That thou […] mightest war a good warfare.
  • French: entrer en guerre
  • German: Krieg führen, (obsolete) kriegen
  • Portuguese: guerrear
  • Russian: воева́ть
  • Spanish: guerrear

Proper noun
  1. The personification of war, often depicted in armor and riding a red horse.
  2. A city in West Virginia, USA.
  • (personification of war) the red rider

Proper noun
  1. Initialism of white Aryan resistance
  2. (computing, Java programming language) Initialism of Web application archive a Java archive file

war (uncountable)

  1. (computing) Initialism of write after read, a kind of data hazard.

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