Battle Royal

Meaning of “Battle Royal”

The phrase “battle royal” means a situation when things go topsy-turvy, or there is general mayhem or when there is a fight that involves everyone. It also means a situation when everybody has an equal opportunity. It’s often confused with ‘battle royale’.

Origin of “Battle Royal”

The phrase “battle royal” originated from a play by James Howard titled All Mistaken or the Made Couple which was published way back in 1672. Then he used this phrase as “Hist – now for a battle-royal” with a hyphen in it. It is also stated that it used to refer to cockfighting at that time.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Battle Royal by Kevin Moss

All prospects were grim to say but the least,
my short life would end just after the feast.
Invited to dine by King Hugo De’vear,
I knew the kind offer was not that sincere.

The table was set with all kinds of food,
to quench appetites of the King and his brood.
The fare looked delicious, fresh on the plate,
no hope of finding A piece of stalemate.

De’vear ate so much his stomach did bulge,
although I was hungry, I chose not to indulge.
The guests all gathered to witness the kill,
whilst first making sure, all had their fill.

My Queen had run off with A Knight of the realm,
white army defeated, only me at the helm.
By my side an old Bishop, haggard and worn,
A Knight that was wounded and one tiny Pawn.

The dark Queen held her hand out and asked me to dance,
but I knew to survive, I must keep from her stance.
Her Knight came toward me, her Bishop my side,
twas that moment I realised, their was nowhere to hide.

I walked to the corner of the black and white checkered floor,
hoping to make my way to the door.
Black King gave the order, his Queen her move made,
very soon I would face executioners blade.

Black Bishop my left, black Knight to my right,
dark Queen stood in front, A daunting sight.
Then raising her sword as if to seal my fate,
she proclaimed with passion, game over checkmate.

The above narrative poem is known as a hair-raising tale of chivalry and feats of the Middle Ages. The poet is invited in a good feast about which he knows that its end is the death of all. However, it happens that he is selected for murder, though he tries his best to avoid it. Finally, he is cornered by the Queen, the Black Knight, and the black Bishop. Later, the Queen ends the game, saving him from sure death. The phrase “battle royal” shows the application in its true meanings.

Example #2

Talk Back Trembling Lips by Ernest Ashworth

Everyday our love’s a battle royal
Dear, it seems that fighting’s all we do
But if I let you know how much I love you
You’ll do things to me you shouldn’t do so

This stanza tells that the speaker’s daily life is a battle royal. According to him, anyone who loves has to fight all the time. The speaker, however, explains that if he tells his friend how much he loves him, then he would not fight battle royals with him. The phrase has been used in the literal meanings of creating mayhem.

Example #3

Battle Royal from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

This is the first chapter of the novel, Invisible Man. The chapter states the advice of the narrator’s grandfather about rising up against the dominance of the white people. His grandfather tells him that he should live with his hand “in the lion’s mouth”. The dialogue clarifies the meanings of this phrase. Though he would have to face torture and brutality, he must live with it courageously to win this battle. The battle of the boys given in this chapter is a battle royal.

Example #4

Roman Quest by Herbie Brennan

“So, you’ve come back,” murmurs the grey-haired Senator languidly.
“Possibly not the best idea in the world.”
“Battle Royal!” shouts a woman in the crowd.
“Battle Royal! Battle Royal!” comes the call from the other voices.
“BATTLE ROYAL! BATTLE ROYAL! BATTLE ROYAL!” the whole bloodthirsty crowd begins to chant.

The novel Roman Quest presents the world of duels in ancient Rome where battle royals were fought between the gladiators. This excerpt presents such an incident in which some senators are looking at such a battle in the colosseum. The crowds and the people are chanting ‘battle royal’ as they derive pleasure watching the fight and the mayhem.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Both friends jumped into the battle royal of the robbers but were caught by the police.”

Example #2: “The XY University has fought the match against AB University like a battle royal but lost it due to lack of practice.”

Example #3: “During Christmas, it’s the battle royal between the siblings. They all want the first present from the tree.”

Example #4: “The royal members of the Saudi Kingdom often do not enter into a battle royal to claim the throne.”

Example #5: “Once the school bell rings and the teacher leaves, it’s the battle royal for the children with no one to stop them.”