state of war

a condition marked by armed conflict between or among states, existing whether or not war has been declared formally by any of the belligerents.
a legal condition initiated and concluded by formal declaration, and not necessarily involving armed conflict.
the duration of such a condition.

1945–50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
state of war
1.  a period of armed conflict between states, regardless of whether or not war has been officially declared
2.  a legal condition begun by a declaration of war and ended formally, during which the rules of international law applicable to warfare may be invoked

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
Horses soon dramatically altered the state of war, with warriors adopting the
  animals as a vehicle for sudden attacks and raids.
On the contrary, it may bring about a permanent state of war.
The world will always be in a state of war, if you can't accept it you are
  fighting against nature.
In this situation, from a common law perspective, the totality leads us to the
  conclusion we're in a state of war.
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