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verb chal·lenge \ˈcha-lənj\

Simple Definition of challenge

  • : to say or show that (something) may not be true, correct, or legal

  • : to question the action or authority of (someone)

  • law : to question whether (someone) should serve on a jury

Full Definition of challenge


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to demand as due or deserved :  require <an event that challenges explanation>

  3. 2 :  to order to halt and prove identity <the sentry challenged the stranger>

  4. 3 :  to dispute especially as being unjust, invalid, or outmoded :  impugn <new data that challenges old assumptions>

  5. 4 :  to question formally the legality or legal qualifications of <challenge a juror>

  6. 5 a :  to confront or defy boldly :  dare <he challenged his critics to prove his guilt> b :  to call out to duel or combat c :  to invite into competition <he challenged his brother to a tennis match>

  7. 6 :  to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties <she wants a job that will challenge her>

  8. 7 :  to administer a physiological and especially an immunologic challenge to (an organism or cell)

  9. intransitive verb
  10. 1 :  to make or present a challenge

  11. 2 :  to take legal exception

chal·leng·er noun

Examples of challenge

  1. A number of doctors are challenging the study's claims.

  2. The new lawsuit challenges the lower court's decision.

  3. She's been challenged on her handling of the problem.

  4. None of them were willing to challenge the referee on the call.

  5. It's a game that will challenge a child's imagination.

  6. The work doesn't challenge him anymore, and he's often bored.

Origin of challenge

Middle English chalengen to accuse, from Anglo-French chalenger, from Latin calumniari to accuse falsely, from calumnia calumny

First Known Use: 13th century



noun chal·lenge

Simple Definition of challenge

  • : a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do

  • : an action, statement, etc., that is against something : a refusal to accept something as true, correct, or legal

  • : an invitation to compete in a game, fight, etc.

Full Definition of challenge

  1. 1 a :  a summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting; specifically :  a summons to a duel to answer an affront b :  an invitation to compete in a sport

  2. 2 a :  a calling to account or into question :  protest b :  an exception taken to a juror before the juror is sworn c :  a sentry's command to halt and prove identity d :  a questioning of the right or validity of a vote or voter

  3. 3 :  a stimulating task or problem <looking for new challenges>

  4. 4 :  the act or process of provoking or testing physiological activity by exposure to a specific substance; especially :  a test of immunity by exposure to an antigen

Examples of challenge

  1. The next major challenge for the company is to improve its distribution capabilities.

  2. Teaching adolescents can be quite a challenge.

  3. The band feels ready for new challenges.

  4. If he takes on the new project he will face the greatest challenge of his career.

  5. Management is seeking ways to better meet the challenge of future growth.

  6. The ski slope offers a high degree of challenge.

  7. Do you accept my challenge to a game of chess?

  8. The senator may face a challenge from within her own party.

14th Century

First Known Use of challenge

14th century

CHALLENGE Defined for Kids



verb chal·lenge \ˈcha-lənj\

Definition of challenge


  1. 1 :  to object to as bad or incorrect :  dispute <The coach challenged the referee's call.>

  2. 2 :  to confront or defy boldly <He challenged them to prove him wrong.>

  3. 3 :  to invite or dare to take part in a contest <Are you challenging us to a race?>

  4. 4 :  to be difficult enough to be interesting to :  test the skill or ability of <This puzzle will challenge you.>

  5. 5 :  to halt and demand identification from <The guard challenged the stranger.>

chal·leng·er noun



noun chal·lenge

Definition of challenge

  1. 1 :  an objection to something as not being true, genuine, correct, or proper or to a person (as a juror) as not being correct, qualified, or approved

  2. 2 :  a call or dare for someone to compete in a contest or sport

  3. 3 :  a difficult task or problem <Memorizing the poem was a challenge.>

  4. 4 :  an order to stop and provide identification

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up challenge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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