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From Middle English striven (to strive) from Old French estriver (to compete, quarrel) from Old French estrif (quarrel, dispute), alteration (influenced by Germanic forms related to Frankish *strīban (to strive), from Proto-Germanic *strībaną, *stribjaną, *stribōną, compare Middle Dutch streven (to strive), German streben (to strive)) of Old French estrit, from Frankish *strīd (quarrel, dispute) from Proto-Germanic *strīdō (combat, strife). Akin to Old High German strīt (quarrel) (German Streit), Old High German strītan (to fight), Old Norse stríð (strife, contention). More at stride.


  • IPA(key): /ˈstɹaɪv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪv


strive (third-person singular simple present strives, present participle striving, simple past strove or strived, past participle striven or strived)

  1. To try to achieve a result; to make strenuous effort; to try earnestly and persistently.
    He strove to excel.
    to strive for the truth
  2. To struggle in opposition; to be in contention or dispute; to contend; to contest.
    to strive against fate
    • (Can we date this quote by Denham?)
      Now private pity strove with public hate, / Reason with rage, and eloquence with fate.
  3. To vie; to compete as a rival.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IV”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      [Not] that sweet grove / Of Daphne, by Orontes and the inspired / Castalian spring, might with this paradise / Of Eden strive.

Usage notesEdit


Related termsEdit



strive (plural strives)

  1. (obsolete) An effort; a striving.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chapman to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete) strife; contention

Further readingEdit