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WordReference English-Spanish Dictionary © 2019:

Compound Forms:
SpanishEnglish
pugnar con conflict with
pugnar por vi + prep (luchar, esforzarse)try hard to, strive to v exprverbal expression: Phrase with special meaning functioning as verb--for example, "put their heads together," "come to an end."
  (violently)struggle to, fight to viintransitive verb: Verb not taking a direct object--for example, "She jokes." "He has arrived."
 Los gatos pugnaban por salir de la caja.
 The cats tried hard (or: strove) to get out of the cage.
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