a. A fight between two armed forces, usually on a large scale: an important battle in the Pacific campaign.
b. Armed fighting; combat: wounded in battle.
2. A match between two combatants: trial by battle.
a. A protracted controversy or struggle: won the battle of the budget.
b. An intense competition: a battle of wits.
v. bat·tled, bat·tling, bat·tles
To engage in or as if in battle.
To fight against: battled the enemy; battled cancer.
[Middle English batel, from Old French bataille, from Vulgar Latin *battālia, from Late Latin battuālia, fighting and fencing exercises, from Latin battuere, to beat.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.