, F. bataille
battle, OF., battle, battalion, fr. L. battalia
, the fighting and fencing exercises of soldiers and gladiators, fr. batuere
to strike, beat. Cf. Battalia
, 1st Battel
, and see Batter
, v. t.
- A general action, fight, or encounter, in which all the divisions of an army are or may be engaged; an engagement; a combat.
- A struggle; a contest; as, the battle of life.
The whole intellectual battle that had at its center the best poem of the best poet of that day.
- A division of an army; a battalion. Obs.
The king divided his army into three battles.
The cavalry, by way of distinction, was called the battle, and on it alone depended the fate of every action.
- The main body, as distinct from the van and rear; battalia. Obs.
✍ 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; battlearray; battle song.
Syn. -- Conflict; encounter; contest; action. 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.