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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 ?
The natural and customary thing to do is to send forward a line of skirmishers.
The skirmishers, without orders, against orders, are going forward at a keen run, like hounds unleashed.
The colors move slowly back, the lines face about and sullenly follow, bearing their wounded; the skirmishers return, gathering up the dead.
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.
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.
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.
An early book review says, "We read of nothing but the minutest details of bodily and mental pain: of tragedies like A Horseman in the Sky,' where a skirmisher shoots his father (of the opposite faction), who has bound him to 'do his duty' in the war; like 'Coulter's Notch,' where an artillerist plays upon his own house, held by the enemy, and slaughters unwittingly his wife and child" ("Novels" 241; see also Partrige 12).