Meaning of “struggle” in the English Dictionary

"struggle" in British English

See all translations


uk /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/ us /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/

struggle verb (EFFORT)

B2 [ I ] to experience difficulty and make a very great effort in order to do something:

[ + to infinitive ] The dog had been struggling to get free of the wire noose.
I've been struggling to understand this article all afternoon.
Fish struggle for survival when the water level drops in the lake.
struggle along, through, out, etc.

to move somewhere with great effort:

He struggled along the rough road holding his son.
By this time he'd managed to struggle out of bed.

[ I ] informal to be in danger of failing or being defeated:

After the first half, United were really struggling.

More examples

  • I struggle to balance work and family commitments.
  • Many single parents struggle to bring their children up on a low income.
  • He struggled to pedal his bicycle up the hill.
  • We struggled up the slippery ascent .
  • The family is struggling to survive on very little money.

struggle verb (FIGHT)

B2 [ I ] to fight, especially with your hands:

He struggled with his attacker who then ran away.

C2 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to use a lot of effort to defeat someone, prevent something, or achieve something:

For years she struggled with/against the establishment to get her theories accepted.

More examples

  • She struggled with her attacker but he was too strong for her.
  • I tried to pick him up but he struggled and got free.

Phrasal verb(s)

strugglenoun [ C ]

uk /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/ us /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/

struggle noun [ C ] (EFFORT)

B2 a very difficult task that you can do only by making a great effort:

It was a terrible struggle for him to accept her death.
The people of this country will continue in their struggle for independence.
[ + to infinitive ] She never gave up the struggle to have her son freed from prison.
It's going to be an uphill struggle (= very difficult) to get your ideas accepted.

More examples

  • It was a struggle just to keep my footing.
  • The film is about a young police-officer and his struggle to expose corruption in the force.
  • Trying to change attitudes to disability is an uphill struggle.
  • We managed to finish the work on time but it was a struggle.
  • It's a struggle, raising kids on your own.

struggle noun [ C ] (FIGHT)

B2 a physical or mental fight:

a struggle with an armed robber
the struggle between good and evil
Clearly there will be a power struggle within the company.

More examples

  • a struggle for supremacy
  • There is an eternal struggle between good and evil.
  • India attained independence in 1947, after decades of struggle.
  • There is a furious struggle going on between the two presidential candidates.
  • In the 80s he took centre stage in his party's struggle with the unions.

(Definition of “struggle” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"struggle" in American English

See all translations

struggleverb [ I ]

us /ˈstrʌɡ·əl/

struggle verb [ I ] (TRY HARD)

to work hard to do something:

struggle verb [ I ] (FIGHT)

to fight, esp. physically:

He struggled with his cousin, and his uncle had to step in to calm things down.

struggle verb [ I ] (MOVE)

to move with difficulty:

She struggled out of her chair.

strugglenoun [ C ]

us /ˈstrʌɡ·əl/

struggle noun [ C ] (FIGHT)

a fight:

Both men were arrested after their struggle in the street.

struggle noun [ C ] (TRYING HARD)

a very great effort to do something:

Central banks everywhere are still fighting the struggle against inflation.

(Definition of “struggle” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"struggle" in Business English

See all translations

strugglenoun [ C ]

uk /ˈstrʌɡl/ us

a hard effort or fight to do or get something:

a struggle for sth There was a struggle for control of the company.
a struggle against sth The struggle against drugs took up much of the police's time and manpower.

something that is extremely difficult to achieve:

We completed the project, but it was a struggle.
a struggle to do sth It has been a struggle to make the business profitable.

struggleverb [ I ]

uk /ˈstrʌɡl/ us

to try or fight very hard in order to do or get something:

struggle with/against sth For years she struggled with the department to get her ideas accepted.
struggle for sth Women struggle for equal rights.

to find it extremely difficult to succeed or to achieve something:

In the current climate many small businesses are struggling.
struggle to do sth The Government will struggle to achieve its target of 15% of electricity from renewables.
struggle along/through The company may struggle along on its own but a merger with a stronger company would be better for its pension holders.

(Definition of “struggle” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)