BAT'TLE, noun [See Beat.] Owen supposes the Welsh batel, to be from tel, tight, stretched, compact, and the word primarily to have expressed the drawing of the bow. This is probably an error. The first battles of men were with clubs, or some weapons used in beating, striking. Hence the club of Hercules. And although the moderns use different weapons, still a battle is some mode of beating or striking.]
1. A fight, or encounter between enemies, or opposing armies; an engagement. It is usually applied to armies or large bodies of men; but in popular language, the word is applied to an encounter between small bodies, between individuals, or inferior animals. It is also more generally applied to the encounters of land forces than of ships; the encounters of the latter being called engagements. But battle is applicable to any combat of enemies.
2. A body of forces, or division of an army.
The main body, as distinct from the van and rear.
To give battle is to attack an enemy; to join battle is properly to meet the attack; but perhaps this distinction is not always observed.
A pitched battle is one in which the armies are previously drawn up in form, with a regular disposition of the forces.
To turn the battle to the gate, is to fight valiantly, and drive the enemy, who hath entered the city, back to the gate. Isaiah 28:6.
BAT'TLE, verb intransitive To join in battle; to contend in fight; sometimes with it; as, to battle it.
BAT'TLE, verb transitive To cover with armed force.