c.1300, from Old French bataille "battle, single combat," also "inner turmoil, harsh circumstances; army, body of soldiers," from Late Latin battualia "exercise of soldiers and gladiators in fighting and fencing," from Latin battuere "to beat, to strike" (see batter (v.)). Phrase battle royal "fight involving several combatants" is from 1670s.
early 14c., "to fight," from French batailler (12c.), from bataille (see battle (n.)). Related: Battled; battling.