v. fought(fôt), fight·ing, fights
a. To attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons.
b. Sports To engage in a boxing match or other similar contest.
2. To engage in a quarrel; argue: They are always fighting about money.
3. To strive vigorously and resolutely, as in trying to overcome something; contend: fought against graft; fighting for her rights. See Synonyms at oppose.
a. To contend with or oppose with violence or in battle.
b. To wage or carry on (a battle).
c. To contend for, as by combat: “I now resolved that Calais should be fought to the death” (Winston S. Churchill).
a. Sports To take part in a boxing match or other similar contest with (an opponent).
b. To participate in (a boxing match or other similar contest).
c. To cause (a boxer or other contestant) to fight in a match.
a. To contend with or struggle against: fought his boss over every penny; fought temptation.
b. To try to prevent the development or success of: fought the attempt to close the school.
c. To try to extinguish (an uncontrolled fire).
4. To make (one's way) by struggle or striving: fought my way to the top.
1. A confrontation between opposing groups in which each attempts to harm or gain power over the other, as with bodily force or weapons.
2. A physical conflict between two or more individuals.
a. A boxing match.
b. A contest in kickboxing, any of the mixed martial arts, or a similar sport.
4. A quarrel or conflict: newlyweds having a fight over chores.
5. A struggle to achieve an objective: a fight for the attainment of civil rights.
6. The power or inclination to fight; pugnacity: I just didn't have any fight left in me.
1. To defend against or drive back (a hostile force, for example).
2. Baseball To hit (a pitch) into foul territory, especially in an effort to avoid being struck out.
fight fire with fire
To combat one evil or one set of negative circumstances by reacting in kind.
fight shy of
To avoid meeting or confronting.
[Middle English fighten, from Old English feohtan, fihtan.]
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.