1. intense economic, political, military, and ideological rivalry between nations, short of military conflict; sustained hostile political policies and an atmosphere of strain between opposed countries.
2. a continuing state of resentful antagonism between two parties short of open hostility or violence.
3. (caps.) rivalry after World War II between the Soviet Union and its satellites and the democratic countries of the Western world, under the leadership of the United States.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.