Cavalry skirmish by Pieter Snayers
Battles involve pride and utmost force, which are neither of them safe things to trust to human hands.
A skirmish, on the other hand, is a test of strength which results in a decision not to bother with a battle. This may be because it's obvious who's going to win (which saves loss of face - possibly physical as well as metaphorical - on the potentially losing side) or it may because it's decided that the argument isn't worth so much effort.
Sometimes a skirmish fails to develop into a battle because one of the contestants recognises the opponent's right to hold a different opinion. But this is very rare.
Especially, it seems, nowadays.
Still, it's a delicious word to say: skirmish, skirmish, skirmish...
Word To Use Today: skirmish. This word doesn't look it, but it comes from Old French, from eskirmir. Before that it was Germanic and is related to the Old High German word skirmen, which means to defend.