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1. A minor battle in war, as one between small forces or between large forces avoiding direct conflict.
2. A minor or preliminary conflict or dispute: a skirmish over the rules before the debate began.
intr.v. skir·mished, skir·mish·ing, skir·mish·es
To engage in a minor battle or dispute.

[Middle English skirmisshe, alteration (influenced by Middle English skirmisshen, to brandish a weapon) of skarmush, from Old French eskarmouch, from Old Italian scaramuccia, of Germanic origin; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

skir′mish·er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.skirmisher - someone who skirmishes (e.g., as a member of a scouting party)
battler, belligerent, combatant, fighter, scrapper - someone who fights (or is fighting)


[ˈskɜːmɪʃəʳ] Nescaramuzador(a) m/f


nKämpfende(r) mf
References in classic literature ?
A thin line of skirmishers, the men deployed at six paces or so apart, now pushes from the wood into the open.
The investigator will encounter nothing less than a line of battle; there is no need of pickets, videttes, skirmishers, to give warning of our approach; our attacking lines will be visible, conspicuous, exposed to an artillery fire that will shave the ground the moment they break from cover, and for half the distance to a sheet of rifle bullets in which nothing can live.
The skirmishers, without orders, against orders, are going forward at a keen run, like hounds unleashed.
Spread over the grass and in among the tree trunks, he could see knots and waving lines of skirmishers who were running hither and thither and firing at the landscape.
The brigade was formed in line of battle, and after a pause started slowly through the woods in the rear of the receding skirmishers, who were con- tinually melting into the scene to appear again farther on.
Directly the youth would see the skirmishers running.
In the first faint gray of the morning, when the swarming advance had paused to resume something of definition as a line of battle, and skirmishers had been thrown forward, word was passed along to call the roll.
There was no one now between the squadron and the enemy except a few scattered skirmishers. An empty space of some seven hundred yards was all that separated them.
"Yes, skirmishers; that is to say, highway robbers."
Just about dawn we were awakened by Infadoos, who came to say that great activity was to be observed in Loo, and that parties of the king's skirmishers were driving in our outposts.
There were about twenty warriors moving forward in a thin line, as our infantry advance as skirmishers. Bradley could not but notice the marked difference between this formation and the moblike methods of the lower tribes he had come in contact with, and he commented upon it to Co-Tan.
The beating of drums, the blowing of horns and trumpets, the shouting of men, and tramping of horses, echoed and re--echoed through the streets from the earliest dawn of day; and an occasional fight between the light skirmishers of either party at once enlivened the preparations, and agreeably diversified their character.