n. pl. battles royal
1. A battle involving many combatants, usually with each fighting against all the others until only one emerges victorious.
2. A competitive situation involving many participants who each attempt to improve their own chances by attacking the others: “The next 10 days, then, will be a battle royal between Bush, Rubio and Kasich—all clamoring for the establishment spot before the race goes national” (Chris Cillizza).
3. An intense altercation: “U.S. diplomatic cables suggest a battle royal between the two allies over satellite technology” (Tim Lister).
4. A fight to the finish.
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.