guerrilla warfare

noun
the use of hit-and-run tactics by small, mobile groups of irregular forces operating in territory controlled by a hostile, regular force.

Origin:
1835–45

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  guerrilla warfare
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a type of military action using small mobile irregular forces to carry out surprise tactics against hostile regular forces
Etymology:  Spanish 'skirmishing' + warfare
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
guerrilla warfare [(guh-ril-uh)]

Wars fought with hit-and-run tactics by small groups against an invader or against an established government. (See counterinsurgency.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

guerrilla warfare

type of warfare fought by irregulars in fast-moving, small-scale actions against orthodox military and police forces and, on occasion, against rival insurgent forces, either independently or in conjunction with a larger political-military strategy. The word guerrilla (the diminutive of Spanish guerra, "war") stems from the duke of Wellington's campaigns during the Peninsular War (1808-14), in which Spanish and Portuguese irregulars, or guerrilleros, helped drive the French from the Iberian Peninsula. Over the centuries the practitioners of guerrilla warfare have been called rebels, irregulars, insurgents, partisans, and mercenaries. Frustrated military commanders have consistently damned them as barbarians, savages, terrorists, brigands, outlaws, and bandits.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It is extremely difficult to prevent these sort of guerrilla warfare attacks.
There may well be an increase in guerrilla warfare because new technologies may
  increase our vulnerability to it.
It is often unconventional and messy guerrilla warfare.
What they did not and still do not agree on is the point at which confrontation
  becomes guerrilla warfare.
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