fight (v.)

Old English feohtan "to combat, contend with weapons, strive; attack; gain by fighting, win" (intransitive; class III strong verb; past tense feaht, past participle fohten), from Proto-Germanic *fe(u)hta (source also of Old High German fehtan, German fechten, Middle Dutch and Dutch vechten, Old Frisian fiuhta "to fight"), probably from PIE *pek- (2) "to comb, to pluck out" wool or hair (source also of Lithuanian pėšti"to pluck," Greek pekein "to comb, shear," pekos "fleece, wool;" Persian pashm "wool, down," Latin pectere "to comb," Sanskrit paksman- "eyebrows, hair"). Apparently the notion is "pulling roughly," or "to tear out one another's hair." But perhaps it is from the source of Latin pugnus "fist."

Spelling substitution of -gh- for a "hard H" sound was a Middle English scribal habit, especially before -t-. In some late Old English examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh. Among provincial early Modern English spellings, Wright lists faight, fate, fecht, feeght, feight, feit, feyght, feyt, feort, foight.

From c. 1200 as "offer resistance, struggle;" also "to quarrel, wrangle, create a disturbance." From late 14c. as "be in conflict." Transitive use from 1690s. To fight for "contest on behalf of" is from early 14c. To fight back "resist" is recorded from 1890. Well figt þat wel fligt ("he fights well that flies fast") was a Middle English proverb.

fight (n.)

Old English feohte, gefeoht "a fight, combat, hostile encounter;" see fight (v.). Compare Old Frisian fiucht, Old Saxon fehta, Dutch gevecht, Old High German gifeht, German Gefecht. Meaning "power or inclination to fight" is from 1812.

updated on March 10, 2020

Definitions of fight from WordNet
fight (n.)
a hostile meeting of opposing military forces in the course of a war;
Synonyms: battle / conflict / engagement
fight (n.)
the act of fighting; any contest or struggle;
there was fighting in the streets
a fight broke out at the hockey game
Synonyms: fighting / combat / scrap
fight (n.)
an aggressive willingness to compete;
the team was full of fight
Synonyms: competitiveness
fight (n.)
an intense verbal dispute;
a violent fight over the bill is expected in the Senate
fight (n.)
a boxing or wrestling match;
the fight was on television last night
fight (v.)
be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight;
the tribesmen fought each other
Siblings are always fighting
Synonyms: contend / struggle
fight (v.)
fight against or resist strongly;
Don't fight it!
Synonyms: oppose / fight back / fight down / defend
fight (v.)
make a strenuous or labored effort;
He fought for breath
Synonyms: struggle
fight (v.)
exert oneself continuously, vigorously, or obtrusively to gain an end or engage in a crusade for a certain cause or person; be an advocate for;
Synonyms: crusade / press / campaign / push / agitate
From, not affiliated with etymonline.