struggle to the death

struggle to the death

1. noun A bitter, hard-fought conflict that ends in the death of one of the participants. The battle between this lion and water buffalo truly is a struggle to the death—the victory of one ensures the demise of the other. The underground competition features experienced fighters from all over the world engaging in struggles to the death.
2. noun An extremely difficult or serious challenge. Used hyperbolically. It was a struggle to the death getting that old lawnmower working again, but by God I did it! We knew it would be a struggle to the death negotiating the contract with their firm.
3. verb To engage in a bitter, hard-fought conflict that ends in the death of one of the participants. I know it's morbid, but one of the things I like best about nature documentaries is watching predators and their prey struggling to the death. The crime boss forced the two underlings to struggle to the death, with the winner being spared any further punishment.
See also: death, struggle, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

struggle to the death

 
1. Lit. a bitter struggle ending in death. The wolf and the elk fought in a struggle to the death.
2. Fig. a serious problem with someone or something; a difficult challenge. I had a terrible time getting my car started. It was a struggle to the death, but it finally started.
See also: death, struggle, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
When he first emerges into the night air, nothing around him is still or steady; nothing around him shows like what it is; he only knows that he stands with a bare head in the midst of a blood-red whirl, waiting to be struggled with, and to struggle to the death.
Fidel Castro once said, a revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.
Will anything remain of their old friendship, as the sides they each chose are locked in a struggle to the death? A deftly blend of riveting storytelling and fully engaging artwork, "Max" ends on a true cliff-hanger surprise ending is the first title in the 'Bear's Tooth' trilogy--leaving its readers looking eagerly toward the next to volumes.
Quote of the day: "A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past." - Fidel Castro launched the Cuban armed struggle on April 5, 1956
Journalists and politicians claim that Jewish protests are in fact an unacceptable attack on Poland, that "Poland is at war with the Jews" and that "this is a struggle to the death." The accusations and paranoia are well beyond the reach of facts--sometimes on the Jewish side as well.
Unfortunately, there is too little awareness of the factors that have inspired millions to support Islamic State and its Salafist form of Islam that have led many thousands to fanatically embrace a struggle to the death against a world that they have totally rejected.
This will be a struggle to the death over Labour's investment in the economy and hope for the future, versus Conservative cuts under the harsh regime of an old Etonian toff.
A horrifying cross between Beckett's "Play," in which a light beam controls three characters in purgatory --Abrahami directed a production in 2005--and Steven Spielberg's "Duel," the piece turns thrillingly into a faceless struggle to the death.
Does litigation seem like a struggle to the death? A take-no-prisoners, only-the-strong-survive battle of epic proportions?
One is reminded of Hegel's struggle to the death between master and servant.
His earlier account of the siege of Stalingrad displayed a unique gift for revealing the humanity behind the uniforms of German and Russian of the people caught up in a struggle to the death.
But he is not immune to behaving like an opposed self-consciousness in Hegel's bleak formula; hence, he is prepared to slit the blond man's throat, to engage in a struggle to the death. For the blond man, as he comments, has not "seen him." Something in the "construction of his inner eye," his (wanting) moral awareness, has led him to negate the black man he encounters on the street.
A scene between Dryden and his young disciple, Flipper, sets up the relationship with skill, economy and not a little black humour - but a climactic struggle to the death in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle produced sniggers at the screening I attended.