Top 60 Slang For Struggle – Meaning & Usage

Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes we all face challenges that make us feel like we’re in a never-ending uphill battle. But fear not, because we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top slang words for struggle that will not only help you navigate through tough times but also add some humor and relatability to your everyday struggles. So sit back, relax, and get ready to laugh and nod your head in agreement as we dive into the world of struggle slang.

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1. Wrestle

To engage in a physical or metaphorical struggle or conflict. “Wrestle” can refer to both a literal wrestling match and a figurative struggle in life.

  • For instance, a sports commentator might say, “The two wrestlers are locked in a fierce battle, trying to wrestle each other to the ground.”
  • In a discussion about overcoming challenges, someone might say, “Sometimes you have to wrestle with your fears to achieve your goals.”
  • A person describing a difficult decision might say, “I’m wrestling with whether to take the job offer or stick with my current position.”

2. Tussle

To engage in a brief, vigorous struggle or fight. “Tussle” often implies a physical altercation or a heated argument.

  • For example, a witness might say, “I saw two guys tussling in the street, throwing punches at each other.”
  • In a discussion about politics, someone might say, “The candidates had a tussle during the debate, with each one trying to dominate the conversation.”
  • A person describing a disagreement with a coworker might say, “We had a tussle over the direction of the project, but eventually found a compromise.”

3. Strive

To make great efforts or struggle to achieve something. “Strive” implies continuous effort and determination to reach a goal.

  • For instance, a motivational speaker might say, “We should all strive for greatness and never settle for mediocrity.”
  • In a discussion about personal growth, someone might say, “I strive to become a better version of myself every day.”
  • A person describing their career goals might say, “I strive to reach the top of my field and become a recognized expert.”

4. Labor

To work hard and exert oneself physically or mentally. “Labor” often refers to difficult or strenuous work, while “toil” implies continuous effort and struggle.

  • For example, a construction worker might say, “I labored all day under the scorching sun, lifting heavy materials.”
  • In a discussion about the challenges of parenting, someone might say, “Raising children requires constant toil and dedication.”
  • A person describing their academic pursuits might say, “I labored for hours to complete my research paper, but it was worth it in the end.”

5. Toil

To work hard and persistently, especially in a laborious or monotonous task. “Toil” often conveys a sense of drudgery and weariness.

  • For instance, a farmer might say, “I toiled in the fields from sunrise to sunset, planting and harvesting crops.”
  • In a discussion about the challenges of entrepreneurship, someone might say, “Starting a business requires years of toil and sacrifice.”
  • A person describing their daily routine might say, “I toil away at my desk, crunching numbers and answering emails all day long.”

6. Exert oneself

To exert oneself means to put in a lot of physical or mental effort into a task or activity. It implies pushing oneself beyond normal limits in order to achieve a goal or overcome a challenge.

  • For example, “I really had to exert myself to finish that marathon.”
  • In a work setting, someone might say, “I’ll have to exert myself to meet this tight deadline.”
  • A coach might encourage their team by saying, “Don’t be afraid to exert yourselves on the field.”

7. Go all out

To go all out means to give maximum effort or to do something with full intensity and commitment. It implies not holding back and putting everything into a task or activity.

  • For instance, “She went all out in her performance and left the audience in awe.”
  • In a sports context, a commentator might say, “He’s really going all out to win this race.”
  • A friend might encourage another by saying, “Go all out and show them what you’re capable of!”

8. Knock oneself out

To knock oneself out means to make a great effort or to work very hard to achieve something. It implies going to great lengths or pushing oneself to the limit in order to accomplish a task or overcome a challenge.

  • For example, “He knocked himself out to finish the project before the deadline.”
  • In a DIY project, someone might say, “I’m going to knock myself out to make this the best-looking room.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “Knock yourselves out on the field and give it your all!”

9. Give it one’s best shot

To give it one’s best shot means to try one’s hardest or to make the greatest effort possible. It implies giving something your full attention and energy in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

  • For instance, “Even though it’s a tough challenge, I’m going to give it my best shot.”
  • In a job interview, someone might say, “I can’t guarantee success, but I promise to give it my best shot.”
  • A coach might encourage their team by saying, “Just go out there and give it your best shot. Leave everything on the field.”

10. Bend over backwards

To bend over backwards means to make a great effort or to go to extreme lengths to accommodate or help someone. It implies going above and beyond what is expected or required in order to assist or please someone.

  • For example, “The customer service representative bent over backwards to resolve the issue.”
  • In a relationship, someone might say, “I’m willing to bend over backwards for you because I care.”
  • A supervisor might appreciate an employee who goes the extra mile and says, “Thank you for always bending over backwards to meet the needs of our clients.”

11. Go for broke

This slang phrase means to put in maximum effort or take a big risk in order to achieve success. It originated from gambling, where “going for broke” meant betting all of one’s money on a single hand.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “We’re down by 10 points, so let’s go for broke and give it everything we’ve got.”
  • In a job interview, a candidate might say, “I’m willing to go for broke and work long hours to prove myself.”
  • A friend might encourage someone to take a chance and say, “You’ve got nothing to lose, so go for broke!”

12. Bust a gut

This slang phrase means to laugh uncontrollably or to find something extremely funny. It is often used to describe a situation or joke that is so funny it feels like one’s stomach is going to burst.

  • For instance, if someone tells a hilarious joke, you might say, “I’m going to bust a gut laughing!”
  • A comedian might say, “I love performing for a crowd that busts a gut at my jokes.”
  • After watching a comedy show, you might say, “That comedian had me busting a gut the entire time!”

13. Break your neck

This slang phrase means to put in a tremendous amount of effort or work extremely hard. It is often used to describe a situation where someone is pushing themselves to the limit in order to achieve a goal.

  • For example, if someone is studying late into the night for an exam, you might say, “They’re really breaking their neck to get a good grade.”
  • A boss might say to their employees, “I expect you all to break your necks to meet the deadline.”
  • A friend might encourage someone to work harder and say, “If you want to succeed, you’ve got to break your neck!”

14. Work like a Trojan

This slang phrase means to work extremely hard and put in a lot of effort. It is derived from the Trojan Horse story in Greek mythology, where the Trojans worked tirelessly to build a massive wooden horse to deceive their enemies.

  • For instance, if someone is constantly working overtime, you might say, “They work like a Trojan.”
  • A coworker might compliment someone’s work ethic and say, “You really work like a Trojan. I admire your dedication.”
  • A parent might encourage their child to study harder and say, “If you want to succeed, you need to work like a Trojan!”

15. Do your damnedest

This slang phrase means to do everything possible and give one’s utmost effort to achieve a goal. It is often used to express determination and a willingness to go above and beyond.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “I want you all to do your damnedest and leave everything on the field.”
  • In a job interview, a candidate might say, “I promise to do my damnedest to exceed expectations if given the opportunity.”
  • A friend might encourage someone to give their best effort and say, “I know you can do it. Just do your damnedest!”

16. Give it your all

This phrase means to give something your best effort or to put in maximum energy and dedication.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “In this game, I want you to give it your all and leave everything on the field.”
  • A motivational speaker might encourage their audience by saying, “Whatever you do, give it your all and never settle for less.”
  • When facing a difficult challenge, someone might tell themselves, “I’m going to give it my all and not give up.”

17. Rupture yourself

This phrase is used to describe the act of putting in excessive or extreme effort.

  • For instance, someone might say, “Don’t rupture yourself trying to finish that project in one night.”
  • A teacher might warn their students, “Remember, it’s important to work hard, but don’t rupture yourself trying to be perfect.”
  • When discussing a demanding workout routine, a fitness enthusiast might say, “That workout will definitely rupture you if you’re not prepared.”

18. Scramble

To scramble means to struggle or have difficulty coping with a situation or finding a solution.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m scrambling to finish this report before the deadline.”
  • A student might mention, “I’ve been scrambling to study for all my exams this week.”
  • When facing unexpected obstacles, someone might say, “I’m scrambling to come up with a backup plan.”

19. Climb uphill

To climb uphill means to face a difficult or challenging task that requires significant effort and perseverance.

  • For instance, someone might say, “Starting a new business is like climbing uphill, but it’s worth it in the end.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “We’re facing a tough opponent, but we’re ready to climb uphill and come out victorious.”
  • When discussing personal growth, someone might say, “Every step of self-improvement feels like climbing uphill, but it’s necessary for progress.”

20. Swim against the current

This phrase means to go against the norm or challenge the prevailing opinion or direction.

  • For example, someone might say, “In a society that values conformity, it takes courage to swim against the current.”
  • A social activist might encourage others by saying, “If you want to make a difference, you have to be willing to swim against the current.”
  • When discussing personal choices, someone might say, “I’ve always swum against the current and followed my own path.”

21. Slog

When faced with a challenging project, you might say, “I’ll have to slog through this to get it done on time.”

  • In a conversation about a tough workout, someone might comment, “I slogged through that last set of burpees.”
  • When describing a difficult hike, you could say, “We slogged up the steep mountain trail.”

22. Push through

In a conversation about a tough exam, someone might say, “I just have to push through and study as much as I can.”

  • When dealing with a personal setback, you might tell yourself, “I need to push through this and come out stronger.”
  • When facing a challenging task, you could say, “I know it’s tough, but we have to push through and get it done.”

23. Soldier on

In a conversation about a long and tiring journey, someone might say, “We have to soldier on and reach our destination.”

  • When discussing a difficult period in life, you might encourage someone by saying, “Just keep soldiering on, things will get better.”
  • When facing a tough competition, a coach might motivate their team by saying, “No matter what happens, we need to soldier on and give it our all.”

24. Battle it out

In a discussion about a heated argument, someone might say, “We had to battle it out before finally coming to an understanding.”

  • When describing a competitive sports match, you could say, “Both teams battled it out until the very last minute.”
  • When talking about a disagreement between two siblings, you might comment, “They always battle it out over who gets to use the computer first.”

25. Work one’s fingers to the bone

When discussing a demanding job, someone might say, “I work my fingers to the bone every day just to make ends meet.”

  • In a conversation about a challenging project, you could say, “I’ve been working my fingers to the bone to meet the deadline.”
  • When describing a dedicated employee, you might comment, “She works her fingers to the bone and never complains.”

26. Grapple

To grapple with a difficult decision

  • “I’ve been grappling with whether or not to quit my job.”
  • “The team is grappling with a lack of funding for the project.”
  • “She grappled with her fear of public speaking before giving the presentation.”
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27. Strain

To strain to meet a deadline

  • “He strained to lift the heavy box.”
  • “The company is straining to stay afloat during the economic downturn.”
  • “She strained to understand the complex math problem.”

28. Give it one’s all

To give it one’s all in a race

  • “He gave it his all during the job interview.”
  • “The team gave it their all in the championship game.”
  • “She gave it her all to complete the marathon.”

29. Go the extra mile

To go the extra mile to help a friend

  • “The employee always goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.”
  • “He went the extra mile by staying late to finish the project.”
  • “She went the extra mile to make the party a success.”

30. Give it everything one’s got

To give it everything one’s got in a performance

  • “They gave it everything they had to win the game.”
  • “She gave it everything she had to pass the exam.”
  • “He gave it everything he had to achieve his goals.”

31. Fight

To engage in physical combat or a physical altercation. It can also be used metaphorically to describe a difficult or challenging situation.

  • For example, “He got into a fight with his neighbor over a parking spot.”
  • In a sports context, someone might say, “The two teams are going to fight it out for the championship.”
  • Figuratively, someone might say, “I’m fighting to overcome my addiction.”

32. Scuffle

A brief and disorderly fight or altercation, often involving multiple people. It can also be used to describe a chaotic or disorganized situation.

  • For instance, “There was a scuffle outside the bar between two groups of people.”
  • In a sports context, someone might say, “There was a scuffle on the basketball court between two players.”
  • Figuratively, someone might say, “I had a scuffle with my boss over a disagreement.”

33. Sweat

To exert oneself physically or mentally, often in a challenging or difficult situation. It can also refer to the physical act of sweating due to exertion.

  • For example, “I really had to sweat to finish that marathon.”
  • In a work context, someone might say, “I’ve been sweating over this report for hours.”
  • Figuratively, someone might say, “I’m sweating over my upcoming job interview.”

34. Battle through

To persist and overcome challenges or obstacles, often in a determined and resilient manner. It implies a continuous struggle and effort to achieve a goal.

  • For instance, “She battled through adversity to become a successful entrepreneur.”
  • In a sports context, someone might say, “The team battled through injuries to win the championship.”
  • Figuratively, someone might say, “I’m battling through this difficult time in my life.”

35. Weather the storm

To endure and survive a difficult period or situation. It implies the ability to withstand challenges and come out stronger on the other side.

  • For example, “Despite the economic downturn, the company managed to weather the storm and remain profitable.”
  • In a personal context, someone might say, “I’m confident I can weather the storm of this breakup.”
  • Figuratively, someone might say, “We need to weather the storm and stay focused on our goals.”

36. Burn the midnight oil

This phrase refers to staying up late to work or study, often implying a struggle or sacrifice of sleep. It can also imply dedication and hard work.

  • For example, “I have a big exam tomorrow, so I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight.”
  • A student might say, “I’ve been burning the midnight oil all week to finish this project.”
  • A writer might say, “To meet my deadline, I had to burn the midnight oil and write through the night.”

37. Break a sweat

This phrase means to work hard physically, often resulting in perspiration. It can be used in various contexts to describe physical exertion or effort.

  • For instance, “I always break a sweat when I go for a run.”
  • Someone might say, “I broke a sweat trying to move that heavy furniture.”
  • A fitness instructor might encourage their class by saying, “Come on, everyone! Let’s break a sweat and push ourselves!”

38. Fight an uphill battle

This expression describes a struggle or challenge that is particularly difficult or challenging, like trying to climb a steep hill. It implies that the odds are stacked against the person or that the task is not easy.

  • For example, “Starting a new business in a competitive market can be an uphill battle.”
  • Someone might say, “I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle trying to lose weight.”
  • A student might say, “Understanding advanced calculus is an uphill battle for me.”

39. Battle against the odds

This phrase means to face a challenge or struggle even when the chances of success are not in one’s favor. It implies that the person is defying expectations or overcoming obstacles.

  • For instance, “She battled against the odds to become a successful entrepreneur.”
  • Someone might say, “I’m determined to battle against the odds and achieve my dreams.”
  • A sports commentator might say, “The underdog team battled against the odds and won the championship.”

40. Swim against the tide

This expression means to go against the prevailing or popular opinion, similar to swimming against a strong current. It implies a struggle or resistance to conforming to the majority.

  • For example, “He swims against the tide and refuses to follow trends.”
  • Someone might say, “In a society that values conformity, it can be challenging to swim against the tide.”
  • A social activist might say, “We need individuals who are willing to swim against the tide and challenge societal norms.”

41. Claw

To claw means to fight or struggle vigorously, often using one’s hands or claws. It can also mean to make a strong effort to achieve something.

  • For example, “The cat clawed at the intruder to defend its territory.”
  • A person might say, “I had to claw my way to the top of the corporate ladder.”
  • In a sports context, someone might say, “The team clawed their way back from a 10-point deficit to win the game.”

42. Tug-of-war

Tug-of-war refers to a situation or competition where two sides or opposing forces are evenly matched and struggling to gain control or dominance.

  • For instance, “There was a tug-of-war between the two political parties for control of the government.”
  • In a business context, someone might say, “There’s a tug-of-war between the marketing and sales departments over budget allocation.”
  • A person might describe a difficult decision as a tug-of-war between their heart and their mind.
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43. Wrench

To wrench means to forcefully extract or remove something, often with great effort or difficulty. It can also refer to causing a sudden or violent twist or turn.

  • For example, “He wrenched the door open with all his strength.”
  • A person might say, “I had to wrench myself away from the comfort of my bed to get to work.”
  • In a figurative sense, someone might say, “The sudden loss of a loved one wrenched my heart.”

44. Combat

To combat means to engage in a struggle or fight, often against an opponent or a difficult situation. It can also refer to taking action to prevent or overcome a problem.

  • For instance, “The soldiers were trained to combat the enemy in close-quarter combat.”
  • A person might say, “I had to combat my fear of public speaking to give a presentation.”
  • In a social context, someone might say, “We need to combat poverty and inequality in our society.”

45. Conquer

To conquer means to overcome or defeat someone or something, often through great effort or determination. It can also refer to gaining control or mastery over a situation or challenge.

  • For example, “He conquered his fear of heights by skydiving.”
  • A person might say, “I will conquer this obstacle and achieve my goals.”
  • In a historical context, someone might say, “Alexander the Great conquered vast territories and built an empire.”

46. Overcome

To successfully deal with or overcome a difficult situation or challenge. This term implies a sense of victory or accomplishment after facing and overcoming adversity.

  • For example, someone might say, “I was able to overcome my fear of public speaking and give a successful presentation.”
  • In a motivational context, a speaker might say, “No matter what obstacles you face, you have the power to overcome them and achieve your goals.”
  • A person sharing their personal story might say, “I had to overcome many obstacles to get where I am today, but I never gave up.”

47. Endure

To continue to exist or suffer through a difficult situation or challenge. This term emphasizes the ability to withstand hardships or difficulties without giving up.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I had to endure months of physical therapy after my injury.”
  • In a philosophical context, a person might say, “Life is full of challenges, but we must endure and keep moving forward.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “I endured many sleepless nights while working two jobs to support my family.”

48. Weather

To successfully withstand or survive difficult conditions or challenges. This term implies the ability to remain strong or resilient in the face of adversity.

  • For example, someone might say, “We were able to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.”
  • In a metaphorical sense, a person might say, “I’ve been through tough times before, and I know I can weather this storm too.”
  • A person sharing their story might say, “I’ve weathered many hardships in my life, but they’ve only made me stronger.”

49. Survive

To continue to live or exist despite facing extreme difficulties or challenges. This term emphasizes the ability to overcome life-threatening situations or circumstances.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I survived a near-death experience and it changed my perspective on life.”
  • In a survival context, a person might say, “With limited resources, we had to find a way to survive in the wilderness.”
  • A person sharing their story might say, “I’ve survived many hardships in my life, and each one has made me more resilient.”

50. Prevail

To ultimately succeed or come out on top after a difficult struggle or challenge. This term implies a sense of victory or accomplishment in the face of adversity.

  • For example, someone might say, “Despite all odds, she prevailed and achieved her dreams.”
  • In a sports context, a commentator might say, “The underdog team prevailed and won the championship.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “I faced many obstacles, but I never gave up, and in the end, I prevailed.”

51. Triumph

To achieve victory or success in the face of adversity or struggle. It implies overcoming obstacles and achieving a positive outcome.

  • For example, “After months of hard work, she finally triumphed and got the promotion she deserved.”
  • A sports commentator might say, “The team’s triumph in the championship game was a testament to their determination and skill.”
  • A motivational speaker might inspire the audience by saying, “No matter how difficult the journey, remember that triumph awaits those who persevere.”

52. Face the music

To confront or deal with the consequences or challenges of a situation, especially when they are unpleasant or difficult. It implies taking responsibility and accepting the reality of a situation.

  • For instance, “After making a mistake, it’s important to face the music and apologize.”
  • In a difficult situation, someone might say, “It’s time to face the music and find a solution.”
  • A parent might advise their child, “You need to face the music and study for your exams instead of avoiding them.”

53. Stand tall

To remain strong and determined in the face of adversity or struggle. It implies maintaining a positive attitude and not letting challenges bring you down.

  • For example, “Despite the setbacks, she stood tall and continued working towards her goals.”
  • A coach might encourage their team by saying, “No matter what happens, remember to stand tall and give it your all.”
  • In a difficult situation, someone might say, “We need to stand tall and support each other through this tough time.”

54. Rise above

To overcome challenges or difficulties and achieve success or a positive outcome. It implies surpassing obstacles and not letting them hold you back.

  • For instance, “She rose above her difficult childhood and became a successful entrepreneur.”
  • A motivational speaker might say, “In order to succeed, you must rise above your fears and doubts.”
  • When facing criticism, someone might say, “I’m going to rise above the negativity and focus on my own growth.”

55. Hang in there

To persevere and stay determined despite difficulties or challenges. It implies holding on and not giving up.

  • For example, “Things may be tough right now, but hang in there and keep pushing forward.”
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “I know it’s hard, but hang in there. You’ve got this.”
  • In a challenging situation, someone might say, “We just need to hang in there and trust that things will get better.”

56. Keep on keeping on

This phrase is used to encourage someone to continue moving forward and not give up, despite facing challenges or difficulties. It means to persist and keep going.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “Even when things get tough, you have to keep on keeping on.”
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “I know it’s hard, but you just have to keep on keeping on.”
  • In a motivational speech, a speaker might say, “No matter what obstacles you face, remember to keep on keeping on.”

57. Power through

This phrase is used to describe the act of pushing through a difficult situation or task with determination and strength. It means to overcome obstacles or challenges.

  • For instance, a student might say, “I have a lot of assignments to finish, but I just need to power through.”
  • A person facing a tough workout might say, “I’m tired, but I’m going to power through and finish strong.”
  • In a work setting, a colleague might say, “We have a tight deadline, but if we work together, we can power through and get it done.”

58. Keep the faith

This phrase is used to encourage someone to maintain hope and belief, especially during difficult times. It means to hold on to faith and stay positive.

  • For example, a friend might say, “I know things are tough right now, but keep the faith. It will get better.”
  • A motivational speaker might say, “In the face of adversity, it’s important to keep the faith and believe in yourself.”
  • Someone going through a challenging situation might remind themselves, “I just need to keep the faith and trust that everything will work out.”

59. Soldier through

This phrase is used to describe the act of pushing through a difficult situation or task with determination and endurance. It means to persevere and keep going despite obstacles.

  • For instance, a hiker might say, “The trail is tough, but I’m going to soldier through and reach the summit.”
  • A person facing a challenging project might say, “I have a lot of work ahead, but I’m determined to soldier through and complete it.”
  • In a team setting, a leader might say, “We’re facing a tough situation, but if we stick together and soldier through, we can overcome it.”

60. Battle on

This phrase is used to encourage someone to continue fighting and not give up, especially during a difficult situation. It means to persevere and keep going despite adversity.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “We’re down, but we need to battle on and give it our all.”
  • A person facing a challenging illness might say, “I’m going to battle on and keep fighting.”
  • In a motivational speech, a speaker might say, “Life is full of battles, but we must battle on and never give up.”