truce


truce
truce, *cease-fire, armistice, peace are comparable when they mean a state of suspension of hostilities or an agreement for suspending hostilities. The first three terms are commonly interchangeable and each of them can sometimes replace peace, yet all four terms can so differ in emphasis and in connotation as to permit them to be used distinctively and with a degree of precision.
Truce is the most general term and can apply to an understanding or agreement for the suspension of hostilities or to a resulting suspension, not only on the part of military forces and nations but equally in the case of disputes (as between labor and management) and of individuals engaged in disputing
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a volume of essays . . . where the parts of his complex and tortured spirit come together in a truce of amity and concord— Woolf

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their present chilly marital truce—F. H. Bullock

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Historically truce denotes an interruption of hostilities for a predetermined and specified period, and it remains the most appropriate term when this notion is prominent
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on Christmas Eve the Communist high command called a truce for the holidays— Collier's Yr. Bk.

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wants a two or three year truce on tariffs— Vernon

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Truce also is appropriately used when the agreement is local rather than general
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agree to a truce to bury the dead

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or when there is a clear indication that no general or permanent termination of hostilities is proposed
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in international law, [truce is] an agreement between belligerent parties by which they mutually engage to forbear all acts of hostility against each other for some time, the war still continuing— Collegiate Law Diet.

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Cease-fire is the most recent of these terms and is rarely used except in relation to actual military engagement. Basically it applies to a literal order to desist from firing on an enemy
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efforts to secure full observance of a cease-fireLie

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As applied to a suspension of hostilities it may imply an intermitting of acts of active hostility for the duration of a period of negotiation
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the cease-fire was over; the peace talks had failed— Newsweek

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or as a preliminary step toward a more permanent or more substantial suspension
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the first stage is a cease-fire. This is already in effect. The second is the signing of a truce agreement to make the cease-fire permanent— U. N. Bulletin

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but more often it implies a cessation of hostilities for an indefinite period of time with the warring parties, typically in a state of military readiness, remaining in the positions they held at the time hostilities ceased or withdrawing a short distance to create a demilitarized zone and without the implication of a permanent peaceful settlement
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the fighting should be stopped by an armistice agreement. A cease-fire leaving opposing forces where they now are would be unsatisfactory— Tillman Durdin

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press for a reduction in the military strength of the parties holding the cease-fire line— U. N. Background Papers

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Cease-fire may additionally suggest the intercession of a neutral party in securing the cessation of hostilities
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had two weeks in which to persuade Nationalists and Communists to quit shooting at each other before sitting down together; he arranged a cease-fire just 30 minutes before the conference began— Time

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cease-fire arrangements by the United Nations— Landis

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and in supervising its observance
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contribute contingents to the United Nations for . . . the supervision of agreed cease-firesMunro

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Armistice (in full, general armistice) basically applies to a formal agreement at the highest level for the laying down of arms and a suspension of military operations; though it does not ordinarily suggest a permanent state, it does commonly imply one that persists either indefinitely or until termination of hostilities by a peace treaty
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an armistice is a written agreement, usually between the highest authorities of the warring powers, which suspends military operations for a definite or indefinite period of time .... A General Armistice is broader in scope, embodying both military and political principles and usually precedes peace negotiations— Coast Artillery Jour.

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no treaty followed the armistice, which was never more than an imperfect cease-fire— Liebling

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But sometimes armistice (in full, local armistice) applies to a merely local or temporary suspension and is then indistinguishable from truce in a similar sense
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[an armistice is] an agreement for the general cessation of active hostilities between two or more belligerents. Distinguished from general armistices are arrangements for a short-term or partial suspension of arms called local armistice or truce which may be made between commanders in the field, for a variety of purposes such as burying the dead. General armistices are made by commanders in chief, usually pursuant to political decision of the governments concerned. An armistice does not put an end to the state of war— Gross

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In its occasional extended use armistice usually stresses the temporariness and uncertainty of the state
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he had learned to live in the land and had established an uneasy armistice between himself and the hostility of rocks and elements— Mowat

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Peace (compare peaceable and peaceful under PACIFIC) can denote a state of mutual concord between governments or more specifically the state resulting from the termination of hostilities
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if ever there is to be a peace which is not an armistice, men must learn to live at least as well as they now know how to die— J. M. Brown

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today there is a truce in Korea. After 3 years of hostilities, we are now in the first year of an armed peaceEisenhower

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or it can apply to an agreement by which such a state is attained
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the purpose of some overtures, it could be foreseen, would be to test out Allied solidarity by offering a tempting separate peace to one or the other— Feis

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the severely punitive peace . . . which the Allies attempted to impose upon Turkey— Kennan

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Unlike the other terms peace imputes permanence or an intention of permanence to the state of or the agreement for suspension of hostilities
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Adler says flatly that there can be no peace between sovereign states; at best there can be nothing more than an uneasy "truce," a period of jockeying and diplomatic cheating preliminary to the next outbreak of armed conflict— Time

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Truce — Truce, n. [OE. trewes, triwes, treowes, pl. of trewe a truce, properly, pledge of fidelity, truth, AS. tre[ o]w fidelity, faith, troth. See {True}.] 1. (Mil.) A suspension of arms by agreement of the commanders of opposing forces; a temporary… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • truce — [ trus ] noun count an agreement between two people or groups involved in a war, fight, or disagreement to stop it for a period of time: At least 750 people have died since the truce ended. call a truce (=agree to stop fighting or arguing): They… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • truce — [tru:s] n [Date: 1300 1400; Origin: Plural of true agreement (14 17 centuries), from Old English treow keeping of a promise ] an agreement between enemies to stop fighting or arguing for a short time, or the period for which this is arranged ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • truce — early 13c., triws, variant of trewes, originally plural of trewe faith, assurance of faith, covenant, treaty, from O.E. treow faith, treaty, from P.Gmc. *trewwo (Cf. O.Fris. triuwe, M.Du. trouwe, Du. trouw, O.H.G. triuwa, Ger. treue, Goth.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • truce — truce·less; truce; …   English syllables

  • truce — index cessation (interlude), conciliation, halt, interruption, interval, lull, pause, peace …   Law dictionary

  • truce — agg. [dal lat. trux ucis ]. 1. [che esprime minaccia, che incute spavento: uno sguardo t. ] ▶◀ bieco, minaccioso, sinistro, (non com.) torto, torvo, (region.) trucido, (lett.) truculento. ◀▶ benevolo, benigno, bonario. 2. (estens.) [che dimostra… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • truce — [n] peaceful solution accord, agreement, amnesty, armistice, break, breather*, ceasefire, cessation, de escalation, detente, halt, intermission, interval, letup, lull, moratorium, olive branch*, pause, peace, reconciliation, reprieve, respite,… …   New thesaurus

  • truce — ► NOUN ▪ an agreement between enemies to stop fighting for a certain time. ORIGIN Old English, «belief, trust»; related to TRUE(Cf. ↑trueness) …   English terms dictionary

  • truce — [tro͞os] n. [ME trewes, pl. of trewe, a pledge < OE treow, compact, faith: see TRUE] 1. a temporary cessation of warfare by agreement between the belligerents; armistice; cease fire 2. any pause in or respite from quarreling, conflict, trouble …   English World dictionary