Skirmish / noun, verb / skərmiSH/
Have you ever witnessed a verbal argument that suddenly turned into a brawl? If so, you've witnessed a skirmish. We use the word skirmish as a noun and a verb in English to depict sudden outbreaks of fighting between two people or opposing groups.
A skirmish is a sudden and unexpected fight that breaks out between two opposing forces. A verbal argument normally proceeds these physical altercations. Most skirmishes are short, quick fights that end almost as fast as they started.
In a Sentence
The referee had to break up a skirmish between the two opposing high school football teams after they lost the championship.
It surprised the rest of the customers standing in line when two customers standing in line at the grocery store broke out into a skirmish over the last bag of chips on the shelf.
Avoiding verbal arguments with people you don't like is the best way to keep skirmishes from breaking out.
The word skirmish first appeared in our language in the late 14th century. At that time, it represented a combination of Middle English, Old French and Old High German words meaning to protect or defend. We still use the word skirmish today to describe a sudden outbreak of fighting between opposing forces that lasts for a short period.