1. A minor battle in war, as one between small forces or between large forces avoiding direct conflict.
2. A minor or preliminary conflict or dispute: a skirmish over the rules before the debate began.
intr.v. skir·mished, skir·mish·ing, skir·mish·es
To engage in a minor battle or dispute.
[Middle English skirmisshe, alteration (influenced by Middle English skirmisshen, to brandish a weapon) of skarmush, from Old French eskarmouch, from Old Italian scaramuccia, of Germanic origin; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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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.