"truce" <vs> "armistice"

panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hello. Truce vs armistice. I think they both mean the ceasing of fire between people. However I wonder whether there is any difference.

To me, it appears that "truce" is colloquial, whereas "armistice" is more formal. Am I correct?

Context:

She felt the uneasy truce between the two parties in the ensuing silence, understood their hospitality toward Taran was dangerously tepid.

When about to enter Austrian territory proper his advance was, however, checked by the armistice of Villafranca.

Thanks.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There is a lot of overlap, but a truce may be called by local commanders, for a short period, for various reasons. An armistice is likely to be called by the warring national governments for the purpose of ending the war. The most famous Armistice, that of 1918, did end the war.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    The most famous Armistice, that of 1918, did end the war.
    Ended the fighting, actually. The war was ended by the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919 - though the US didn't officially end its participation in the war until 1921, and the Treaty of Lausanne, which ended the war with Turkey, wasn't signed until 1923.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    To me, it appears that "truce" is colloquial, whereas "armistice" is more formal. Am I correct?
    I agree with what the others have said above, but I would add that your intuition here is valuable. Not that there is anything "informal" about calling an agreed-upon military ceasefire a "truce," but rather that if one is going to use one of these two words in an informal way, it must be "truce." For example, "John and Sarah argued about it for over an hour, until finally they agreed to an armistice a truce so that they could eat dinner in peace."
     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    Thank you all for the replies.

    Now that Glenfarclas mentioned it, I think "ceasefire" is yet another way of putting it. What is the difference between "truce" and "ceasefire"? They are both short term and not as formal-sounding as "armistice". Thanks.
     
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