What is the difference in the meaning of the following two sentences:

Iran waged a war on Iraq.

Iran waged a war with Iraq.

As per the definition of wage, wage means "carry on". I checked the sample sentences on Oxford and found that "waged a war on" is only used in the examples mentioned here. However, I checked "waged a war with" on Google ngram and found that this combination is also used. Is it a mistake in the usage of the preposition or it has any other meaning?

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    You can use either preposition with "waged war". Saying "Iran waged a war on Iraq" has a connotation that Iran is the aggressor and Iraq is the defender, while the pronoun with is more neutral as to who might be "at fault" for starting the war. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


The expressions "... waged war on ...", "waged war with ..." or " ... waged war against ..." are used to name the enemy.

The expression " ... waged war with ..." also can be used to describe now the war was waged. For example: "They waged war with artillery and cavalry charges." or "They waged war with great ferocity."

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