The Meaning of Strife: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of strife? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word strife, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word strife mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word strife is a noun that refers to a bitter or violent conflict, dissension, or act of contention, or some exertion or contention for superiority. Archaically, this referred to the act of striving for something. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. You never know, it might become one of your new favorite words to use!

Many other languages also contain words that mean strife. You may notice that many of these words look similar and sound similar to the word strife. This is likely because they are of a common origin. Often, words with a similar origin will be cognates for each other. This list of translations for the word strife is provided by Word Sense.

  •  West Frisian: strijf‎, striid‎
  •  Irish: imreas‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: раздо́р‎ (masc.), ра́спря‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: stridighet‎, tvist‎, fejd‎, kiv‎, konflikt‎ (common)
  •  Korean: 투쟁‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: ceallach‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: malpaco‎
  •  Maori: raweoi‎, rawehoi‎, tatauranga‎
  •  Hebrew: מדון‎
  •  Portuguese: conflito‎ (masc.), disputa‎ (fem.), discórdia‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 争い‎ (あらそい, arasoi)
  •  Norwegian: strid‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: selkkaus‎, yhteenotto‎, konflikti‎
  •  Turkish: çatışma‎, ihtilaf‎
  •  Mandarin: 衝突‎, 冲突‎ (chōngtū, chōngtú)
  •  Greek: διαμάχη‎ (fem.), διαπάλη‎ (fem.), αλληλοσπαραγμός‎ (masc.)
  •  Gujarati: હિંસક તોફાન,ઝઘડો,‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: distensión‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: disputa‎ (fem.), tenzone‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Streit‎ (masc.)
  •  French: différends m plural, dispute‎ (fem.), querelle‎ (fem.)
  •  Latin: iūrgium‎ (neut.)
  •  Hungarian: viszály‎
  •  Dutch: geschil‎ (neut.), vijandige rivaliteit‎, strijd‎, conflict‎
  •  Arabic: فِتْنَة‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: konflikt‎ (masc.), kłótnia‎ (fem.), niesnaska‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: svár‎ (masc.)

How can the word strife be used in a sentence?

The word strife can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using a word in a sentence is a great way to make sure that you remember its definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today in order to remember its definition.Below are many examples of strife. 

Years of Civil Wars in the country have led to internal strife among the people and physical efforts to defeat each other.

Experts believe that the next era of social strife will be due to human migration and a sense of abandon about the pursuit of prosperity.

The warming world has led to more environmental strife than ever before. Even after centuries of geopolitical strife, the big thaw that threatens the environment is definitely a point of contention and open clash between parties. 

The God of War chuckled at the hatred and strife that he saw occurring on Earth. 

The industrial strife and strife of the marketplace were centered around unemployment and a supposed labor shortage. 

The political party threatened strife against their opponents if they did not pass the bill. This crosscurrent fire was no way to run a country. 

On the occasion contest during field day at Princeton University, the main group activity was met with strife from the participants. They found the scavenger hunt far too difficult and could not decipher the clues that were given to them via soundtrack and photography. 

He was a man of contention and a man of strife. He had lived a hard life, and formed a gang in Russia. He was tough as nails, but his heart was melted by his queen of love. 

What is the origin of the word strife?

According to Etymonline, the word strife has been used since the year 1200 to refer to some quarrel or discord. This comes from the Old French estrif, a variant of the Old French estrit or estriver meaning a quarrel or dispute. This likely comes from the Frankish strid, meaning strife or combat, or some other Germanic source. This word is comparable to the Old High German strit, and related to the German streit and Old High German stritan. Related words include stride and strive.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word strife?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word strife These are considered synonyms, which are words that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word strife is provided by Thesaurus

  •  tug of war
  •  spat
  •  squabbling
  •  argument
  •  fuss
  •  disagreement
  •  wrangle
  •  warfare
  •  disunity
  •  competition
  •  factionalism
  •  dissidence
  •  combat
  •  controversy
  •  animosity
  •  variance
  •  fighting
  •  clash
  •  squabble
  •  difference
  •  conflict
  •  friction
  •  words
  •  struggle
  •  wrangling
  •  bickering
  •  contest
  •  contention
  •  discord
  •  emulation
  •  altercation
  •  rivalry
  •  dispute
  •  dissension
  •  hassle
  •  striving
  •  battle
  •  dissent
  •  affray
  •  blowup
  •  static
  •  brawl
  •  quarrel
  •  faction

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as the word strife. These opposite words are considered antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word strife is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  concert
  •  unanimity
  •  agreement
  •  harmony
  •  congruence
  •  good vibrations
  •  correspondence
  •  okay
  •  sympathy
  •  accordance
  •  concurrence
  •  rapport
  •  reconciliation
  •  treaty
  •  concord
  •  accord
  •  good vibes
  •  deal
  •  10-4
  •  pact
  •  conformity

Overall, the word strife means a bitter conflict, violent contention, antagonistic contention, emulative contention, active struggle, a lack of agreement, or some strenuous effort. Archaically, it referred to an earnest endeavor, earnest attempt, or the wants of life, i.e. noble strife. This word is likely of Germanic origin and also stems from the Middle English strif.


  1. strife: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. STRIFE Synonyms: 53 Synonyms & Antonyms for STRIFE | Thesaurus 
  3. ACCORD Synonyms: 86 Synonyms & Antonyms for ACCORD | Thesaurus 
  4. strife | Origin and meaning of strife | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Strife | Definition of Strife | Merriam-Webster