Exam Vocabulary and Synonyms for Conflict

On this page, you will find lists of words to help you expand your vocabulary related to the word ‘conflict’. There are nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, so you will learn how to put stronger sentences together with more sophisticated language. Practicing forming sentences in this way is particularly good if you are preparing for exams, such as IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, SAT, LSAT, Civil Services, and Banking.

Example Sentence Showing Synonyms and Different Word Forms:

There was always friction (noun) between the two colleagues. It never really erupted into an altercation (noun), but we all knew that they had argued (verb) over a highly contentious (adjective) issue.





In this column, you will find words that you will come across in everyday English, and which are even suitable for exams like IELTS or TOEFL.

*An asterisk means that this word is less popular in everyday English than the other words in the list. These words may also be asked in some simpler exams.

In this column, you will find words that are likely to be asked in more Advanced Exams, such as GRE, MBA, SAT/LSAT, Civil Service, Banks, etc.


Some Nouns for a Conflict

(a lovers' tiff; a minor disagreement; a violent altercation)



The couple had a quarrel outside the restaurant, so everyone heard what they were saying.

In the middle of the huge gathering of people, a melee broke out, with lots of fighting. It was chaos!

I thought our argument was a big deal, but my friends said not to worry, that it was just a lovers' tiff.

The man was treated in hospital following a violent altercation on the city streets.

The families had been caught up in a feud for generations.

It was only a minor disagreement; nothing much to worry about. You’ll be talking again in no time.

The papers reported on a dispute between the two leading political parties.

The dissension caused by the constant disagreement with the government led to violence and uprising.

We had a bit of squabble about the details, but nothing serious.

The issue caused a lot of contention in the workplace. Not everyone agreed with how it was resolved.

These kinds of conversations always caused some controversy. They dealt with very emotive issues for which there seemed to be no middle ground.

The soldiers engaged the enemy in combat, and lives were lost on both sides.

The initial battle was indecisive, but the next engagement proved much more decisive; and the war was brought to an end.

Oh, it’s nothing. Just a little spat between friends. They’ll get over it in no time.

Modern warfare seems to be moving towards automation and a general disconnection from the realities of war.

The customers seemed to fall out of the bar, and they started a brawl that the police had to break up.

I got into a fight with a guy who insulted my girlfriend. We should have just walked away.

There had been small engagements between rebel factions, but nothing that led to all-out war.

The army launched a concerted campaign against the insurgents.

Everyone could sense the friction between the two of them. We all just kept working and hoped it wouldn’t evolve into an all-out row.

The memories of what happened all those years ago still lingered, causing a small measure of strife between the married couple.

There was an old-fashioned duel between the two men, as they lined up and shot at each other!

There was still a lot of enmity between the two brothers.

The protestors wanted things to remain peaceful, but some hostile elements in the crowd reacted aggressively to the police, starting a riot.

Hostilities have finally ceased between the two nations, although an agreement has yet to be finalised.

The politician was accused of inciting a kind of religiously-charged crusade* against other ethnic groups.

*This word should be used cautiously, considering its historical implications.


*Silent ‘s'. This word might be used ironically. We wouldn’t consider common.


Some Adjectives for Describing Something as Conflicting

(a heated exchange; a contentious issue; warring factions)



There was a heated exchange in parliament this morning, as the two parties debated the merits of the new legislation.

It was a highly contentious issue, so people had to tip-toe around it and had to be careful what they said.

Fighting broke out again today, following a month-long truce between warring factions in the region.


Some Verbs for Acting in a Conflicting Manner

(the kids were bickering; combat the virus; terrorise the people)



We quarrelled for a while, but then we just decided to ‘agree to disagree’ and move on.

Stop fighting, you two! You’re arguing over nothing!

They terrorised the neighbourhood, running protection rackets and beating people up.

The girls are always bickering. Their voices go through my head!

We have to combat this new strain of the virus.

She disputed the terms of the agreement, and she was right to do so. They weren’t fair.

They’re always brawling in the streets. They have no self-respect.


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