a very common situation when 2 hostile groups,gangs come against each other to fight and dominate?

It could be a slang word, what is the occurrence of this situation?

I can think of gang fight, but I want to hear more 'slang' word.

May be rumble, shootout, hassle, showdowns? What else?


  • 3
    Face | Off? oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/face-off -- It's not slang, it's "Chiefly North American" usage. 1. "Take up an attitude of confrontation, especially at the start of a fight or game" 2. "A direct confrontation between two people are groups."
    – Kris
    Nov 22, 2014 at 15:12
  • 3
    When you're talking in particular about gang confrontations the terminology is apt to be highly localized.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 22, 2014 at 20:32

9 Answers 9


Probably a showdown:

  • An event, especially a confrontation, that forces an issue to a conclusion.

or a clash:

  • An encounter between hostile forces; a battle or skirmish.

(from TFD)

  • 1
    yes, clash sounds more universal.... just clash..!
    – ERJAN
    Nov 24, 2014 at 5:03

The word "rumble" specifically refers to a confrontation between two rival gangs. It could be a spontaneous event, or it could be planned in advance. The goal of the fight was to settle a dispute, demonstrate the gangs' fighting skills, or establish territories. Gang rumbles were often planned in advance by leaders, sometimes even negotiating times and locations.

While the word may have some quaint connotations today due to its popularization in the musical West Side Story and later street gang fiction, it's still commonly used when referring to a planned fight or brawl though more often in a sporting context, such as in professional wrestling, boxing, MMA fighting, and video games.

The key point is that a rumble is not merely a competition or a fight, but a fight between rival groups.

A word that describes a fight involving multiple people can also be called a melee, but this does not specifically suggest that the participants are gang members.

  • 1
    I think in a gang context that's largely restricted to musical theatre these days. Could be wrong.
    – A E
    Nov 22, 2014 at 22:00
  • Rumble is part of a fairly famous (at least among boxing fans) catchphrase "Let's get ready to rumble!" trademarked by an iconic boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer. abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/…
    – ColleenV
    Nov 23, 2014 at 0:56
  • This was the word I thought of, but it seems dated now. It was probably more accurate in the 70's or 80's, and then maybe only in fiction.
    – TecBrat
    Nov 23, 2014 at 13:26
  • @TecBrat I'm not sure if it is dated so much as a more lighthearted description of a "fight between two rivals". I think it's the most precise word, but as mentioned in the edited answer, it doesn't really evoke killing and violence as much as a sports match.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 25, 2014 at 14:49

Two terms I think applicable have been mentioned already:
face-off, “to be in or come into opposition or competition” [merriam-webster.com] as a verb, or as a noun, the competition itself
showdown, “The final battle between two nemeses, in which there can be but one victor” [wiktionary]

Also consider the following.
dogfight, “a fierce fight or struggle between people or groups” [merriam-webster.com]
confrontation, in its sense “A conflict between armed forces” [wiktionary]
battle, “A struggle; a contest” [wiktionary]
gang war, “feuding between gangs; especially : feuding between groups of gangsters” [merriam-webster.com]


A term very often used for this is a turf war, defined by the free dictionary as

  1. a dispute between criminals or gangs over the right to operate within a particular area

It is very commonly used to describe wars between rival gangs.

Another term you could use is pissing contest. While this does not directly imply gangs, it describes the idiocy of the conflict quite well. It is defined by the online MW as:

a competition between rivals to determine superiority, predominance, or leadership —called also pissing match

Note that the term implies that you consider the people involved and their rivalry childish and silly. It is a term often used by women to describe the petty rivalries of men for example. It comes from the child's game of attempting to produce the longest stream of urine you can.

I do not recommend you ever use it if actually speaking to a member of a gang. You are likely to be sent looking for your teeth. However, seeing as gang rivalries—despite their sadly high casualty rate—are essentially sophomoric nonsense and adolescent posturing, I feel the term is a good fit.

Note that the term itself does not in any way imply gangs as such. You would need to specify that that's what you're referring to by saying something like

There was a pissing match between rival gangs.

  • My biggest issue with this term is it doesn't connote physical violence so much as verbal posturing.
    – barbecue
    Nov 24, 2014 at 23:52

Brawl might apply here:

a rough or noisy fight or quarrel.

Feud can be used between gangs - over a longer period of time:

a prolonged and bitter quarrel or dispute.

  • 1
    *1 for suggesting two terms which the OP didn't come up with himself.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 23, 2014 at 11:44

I would say that the most slang term in urban america is "bang". An example would be: "lil chippy got got by some slobs so we gon bang on 'em 2nite, U down?"

  • scuffle (=A short, confused fight or struggle at close quarters)
  • punch-up (=A disorderly bout of fighting with the fists; a brawl)(informal)
  • rammy (=A quarrel or brawl) (informal) According to OED
  • These are just names for fights in general.
    – Carl Smith
    Nov 24, 2014 at 0:50

In Hip Hop culture, it's always called a battle, but it's non-violent in that context, like a rap battle. There's an event called Battle of the Year that's essentially the BBoy world cup. There's also, sadly, a really cheesy Hollywood movie by the same name.


The best word that I can think of is used commonly in hip-hop culture and that is "to get to scrapping." "Why'd they have to get to scrappin' with him?"

  • Please provide a source for your answer. For example, a link to a dictionary or etymological history. This not only makes your answer stronger, but helps other people who may have similar questions.
    – Nick2253
    Nov 24, 2014 at 19:06

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