From Middle English strif, stryf, striffe, from Old French estrif, noun derived from estriver, from Frankish *strīban; compare Dutch strijven. More at strive.


  • IPA(key): /stɹaɪf/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪf


strife (countable and uncountable, plural strifes)

  1. Striving; earnest endeavor; hard work.
  2. Exertion or contention for superiority, either by physical or intellectual means.
    • 1595: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
      From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
      A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
      Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
      Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, 1 Timothy 6:4:
      Hee is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and ſtrifes of wordes, []
  3. Bitter conflict, sometimes violent.
    Synonyms: altercation, contention, discord, wrangle
  4. (colloquial) A trouble of any kind.
  5. (obsolete) That which is contended against; occasion of contest.

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