A brief, minor, and usually unplanned fight or battle between small groups, often as a part of a larger conflict or war.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Clash, altercation, brawl, fracas, altercation, tussle


Agreement, peace, harmony, concord

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun skirmisher, skirmishers, skirmishes, skirmish
Verb skirmishes, skirmishing, skirmish, skirmished
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The two opposing groups engaged in a skirmish, resulting in minor injuries to a few participants.

  • The army carried out a surprise attack on the enemy camp, leading to a series of skirmishes that lasted throughout the night.

  • The football match between the two rival teams ended in a skirmish when the players got into a heated argument over a disputed call.

  • The protesters and police clashed in a skirmish when the former tried to break through the barricades.


The word “skirmish” is often used to describe a brief, minor, and unplanned fight or battle between small groups. It is commonly used in the context of larger conflicts or wars, where smaller skirmishes are a common occurrence. Skirmishes can be between two small groups of people, such as rival football fans or protesters and police, or between military units in a battle.

The term “skirmish” can also be used figuratively to describe smaller disagreements or conflicts within a larger context, such as a political or social issue. In this sense, it can refer to a minor argument or disagreement that is a part of a larger debate or conflict.

The word “skirmish” originated from the Old French word “escaramuche,” which meant “skirmish” or “scrimmage.” It entered the English language in the 16th century and has since been widely used in military, sports, and social contexts. It is often associated with sudden and unexpected events that lead to brief but intense fighting. The word can be used in a neutral, descriptive way, or it can carry a negative connotation, implying that the fighting was unnecessary or unjustified.

Overall, the word “skirmish” is a useful term for describing minor conflicts or battles that are a part of larger events or issues. It conveys a sense of urgency and intensity, while also acknowledging the relatively minor nature of the conflict.