top of page



How to pronounce skirmish (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Dictionary definition of skirmish

A minor or brief battle or fight that is usually part of a larger conflict.
"The soldiers were involved in a skirmish with the enemy troops at the border."


Detailed meaning of skirmish

It is typically between small groups of soldiers or fighters, rather than large armies. Skirmishes are often used as a tactic to probe an enemy's strength, test their weaknesses, or to gain a strategic advantage. The term can also be used to describe a brief and minor disagreement or altercation, such as a verbal dispute or a minor physical altercation. Skirmishes are usually less intense and less destructive than full-scale battles, and the number of casualties is usually relatively low. Overall, the word "skirmish" refers to a brief and minor battle, fight or altercation, often as a part of larger conflict, and usually involving a small number of participants.

Example sentences containing skirmish

1. The two opposing armies had a minor skirmish at the border.
2. During the skirmish, several soldiers were injured.
3. The skirmish lasted only a few minutes, but it was intense.
4. In the dead of night, a skirmish broke out between the rival gangs.
5. The peaceful protest turned into a skirmish with the local police.
6. He was decorated for his bravery during a surprise skirmish.

History and etymology of skirmish

The noun 'skirmish' draws its etymological roots from the Old French word 'escarmouche,' which was used to describe a minor battle or encounter. 'Escarmouche' itself had its origins in the Old Italian word 'scaramuccia,' which referred to a small-scale fight or combat. This Italian term can be traced back further to the Middle High German word 'skirmen,' meaning 'to fight' or 'to defend.' The transition of 'skirmish' from these various European languages into English retained its core meaning of a brief, often minor, battle or fight, typically occurring as part of a larger conflict. The word 'skirmish' highlights the notion of smaller-scale engagements within the context of warfare or conflicts.

Quiz: Find the meaning of skirmish

Try Again!


Further usage examples of skirmish

1. After a brief skirmish, the intruders retreated.
2. A small skirmish occurred over the last slice of pizza.
3. The medieval knights engaged in a friendly skirmish as part of their training.
4. The skirmish at the city gates signaled the start of the war.
5. Political debates often resemble verbal skirmishes.
6. During the skirmish, they managed to capture the enemy's flag.
7. An unexpected skirmish disturbed the quiet of the countryside.
8. A skirmish between the two siblings over the remote control ended in laughter.
9. The skirmish over resources has caused a lot of tension in the community.
10. The noisy skirmish woke everyone in the nearby houses.
11. The historical skirmish at the bridge marked a turning point in the war.
12. The skirmish in the cafeteria started over a spilled drink.
13. They had a minor skirmish over who should do the dishes.
14. A small skirmish in the parking lot attracted the attention of the passersby.



clash, truce, peace, harmony


Suffix -ish, Crisis and Opposition, Conflict and Confrontation, Emotional Turmoil and Tension, Occasions and Occurrences, Hostility and Dispute

bottom of page