• WordNet 3.6
    • v skirmish engage in a skirmish
    • n skirmish a minor short-term fight
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Skirmish A slight contest. "They never meet but there's a skirmish of wit."
    • Skirmish A slight fight in war; a light or desultory combat between detachments from armies, or between detached and small bodies of troops.
    • v. i Skirmish To fight slightly or in small parties; to engage in a skirmish or skirmishes; to act as skirmishers.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n skirmish An irregular fight, especially between small parties; an engagement, in the presence of two armies, between small detachments advanced for the purpose either of drawing on a battle or of concealing by their fire the movements of the troops in the rear.
    • n skirmish Defense.
    • n skirmish Any contention or contest; a preliminary trial of strength, etc.
    • n skirmish Synonyms Rencounter, Brush, etc. See encounter.
    • skirmish To fight irregularly, as in a skirmish; fight in small parties or along a skirmishline.
    • skirmish To defend one's self; strike out in defense or attack.
    • skirmish To be in a position of guarded and cautious attack; fence.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Skirmish skėr′mish an irregular fight between two small parties: a contest
    • v.i Skirmish to fight slightly or irregularly
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. skirmishen, scarmishen, OF. escremir, eskermir, to fence, fight, F. escrimer, of German origin; cf. OHG. scirmen, to protect, defend, G. schirmen, OHG. scirm, scerm, protection, shield, G. schirm,; perhaps akin to Gr. a sunshade. Cf. Scaramouch Scrimmage


In literature:

During the skirmish he paid but scant attention to his own personal safety.
"American Boy's Life of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edward Stratemeyer
Some armed themselves, and skirmished with the troops; and many, with their families, fled to the mountains.
"Fox's Book of Martyrs" by John Foxe
Skirmishes and trickery were the order of the day.
"The Swedish Revolution Under Gustavus Vasa" by Paul Barron Watson
The first intimation General Bragg had of the movement was cavalry skirmishes with his advance.
"Four Years in Rebel Capitals" by T. C. DeLeon
There has been a skirmish, and the neighbourhood is not perfectly safe for travellers.
"Red Cap Tales" by Samuel Rutherford Crockett
The next day, January 1, 1863, was peaceful save for cavalry skirmishing.
"History of the United States, Volume 4" by E. Benjamin Andrews
Several skirmishes took place on the way and General Wheaton brought his reserves forward into the general advance.
"The Philippine Islands" by John Foreman
Constant skirmishes took place.
"Our Soldiers" by W.H.G. Kingston
At Beaufort they had a few little skirmishes.
"The Journal of Negro History, Volume 5, 1920" by Various
It seemed that a Confederate picket had been occupying the village, and the creek memorized by the skirmish was an outpost merely.
"Campaigns of a Non-Combatant," by George Alfred Townsend

In poetry:

Me alienated? Bosh! It's just
As a sworn citizen who must
Skirmish with it that I feel
Most at home with what is Real.
"Doggerel" by W H Auden
"Then there came one with eager eyes
And keen sword, ready for the fray.
He missed the storms of Northern skies,
The reckless raid and skirmish gay!
"Yasmini" by Laurence Hope
Yes, it was a swallow's nest,
Built of clay and hair of horses,
Mane, or tail, or dragoon's crest,
Found on hedge-rows east and west,
After skirmish of the forces.
"The Emperor's Bird's-Nest. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The First)" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We formed in haste and dashed away,
Across the field, our place to fill;
At first a skirmish, then a spray
Of cannon smoke upon a hill
Flanked by long lines in close array.
"An Incident Of War" by Maurice Thompson
Shee led upp her souldiers in battaile array,
Gainst three times theyr number by breake of the daye;
Seven howers in skirmish continued shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
"Mary Ambree" by Anonymous British
Shee ledd upp her souldiers in battaile array,
Gainst three times theyr number by breake of the daye;
Seven howers in skirmish continued shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?
"Mary Ambree" by Andrew Lang

In news:

Nov 14, 2012:A Syrian rebel fighter aims at Syrian government forces during skirmishes in Aleppo, Syria.
NEW YORK — Ever eager to provoke, Rush Limbaugh has now succeeded into drawing the White House into a skirmish.
Upcoming hearing is first skirmish in Metro Council-driven lawsuit targeting state law More.
Volusia County sheriff's investigators arrested two men today, including the shooting suspect, in a road rage skirmish in Deltona, officials said.
A search team has discovered a German sub that sank in a World War II skirmish 70 miles south of Nantucket .
When State Rep Roy Schmidt called for an end to Michigan's Recall Wars between Republicans and Democrats last week, he almost started another skirmish.
The Battle for Universal, Free Knowledge by Carol Ebbinghouse Law Librarian, California Second District Court of Appeal, Los Angeles, CA It's a war out there, skirmishes everywhere.
Border skirmishes , ugly talk and troop movements happened across the strip all summer.
Bob Etheridge apologizes for skirmish with cameramen.
Young veteran faces cell phone skirmish .
The Skirmish That Could Threaten Google News.
Buffalo Bill's Skirmish At Warbonnet Creek.
Web Titans in Web Developer Skirmish .
Skirmish on South Mountain.
Harbaugh sends Williams to sideline after skirmish .