challenge

verb
chal·​lenge | \ ˈcha-lənj How to pronounce challenge (audio) \
challenged; challenging

Definition of challenge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to dispute especially as being unjust, invalid, or outmoded : impugn new data that challenges old assumptions
2a : to confront or defy boldly : dare he challenged his critics to prove his guilt
b : to call out to duel or combat challenged his rival to a duel
c : to invite into competition he challenged his brother to a tennis match
3 : to question formally the legality or legal qualifications of challenge a juror
4 : to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties she wants a job that will challenge her
5 : to order to halt and prove identity the sentry challenged the stranger
6 : to demand as due or deserved : require an event that challenges explanation
7 : to administer a physiological (see physiological sense 2) and especially an immunologic challenge to (an organism or cell)

intransitive verb

1 : to make or present a challenge when the appropriate moment challenged, he was capable of … leadership— C. H. Driver
2 : to take legal exception

challenge

noun

Definition of challenge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a stimulating task or problem looking for new challenges
2a : a calling to account or into question : protest a challenge to unauthorized use of public funds
b : an exception taken to a juror before the juror is sworn a challenge of a prospective juror based on a specific cause or reason
c : a questioning of the right or validity of a vote or voter
d : a sentry's command to halt and prove identity The intruder fled at the sentry's challenge.
3a : an invitation to compete in a sport He accepted my challenge to a game of chess.
b : a summons (see summons entry 1 sense 2) that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting specifically : a summons to a duel to answer an affront
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from challenge

Verb

challenger noun
challengeable \ ˈcha-​lən-​jə-​bəl How to pronounce challenge (audio) \ adjective

Examples of challenge in a Sentence

Verb A number of doctors are challenging the study's claims. The new lawsuit challenges the lower court's decision. She's been challenged on her handling of the problem. None of them were willing to challenge the referee on the call. It's a game that will challenge a child's imagination. The work doesn't challenge him anymore, and he's often bored. Noun The next major challenge for the company is to improve its distribution capabilities. Teaching adolescents can be quite a challenge. The band feels ready for new challenges. If he takes on the new project he will face the greatest challenge of his career. Management is seeking ways to better meet the challenge of future growth. The ski slope offers a high degree of challenge. Do you accept my challenge to a game of chess? The senator may face a challenge from within her own party.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Critics, including Biden, had lambasted Trump for alienating would-be allies like the EU instead of enlisting them to help challenge Beijing. Paul Wiseman, Star Tribune, 13 June 2021 Fried is currently vying with former Florida governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for the Democratic nomination; the winner of the primary will challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Jason Garcia, orlandosentinel.com, 11 June 2021 Critics would likely challenge the constitutionality of the law under the First Amendment. J. Scott Babwah Brennen, Wired, 11 June 2021 In the stream, which will follow a round-robin format, Hawk and Huston will play head-to-head as their characters in game; Armanto and Polchow will also challenge. Michelle Bruton, Forbes, 7 June 2021 In Georgia, poll watchers can challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 6 June 2021 The findings challenge the notion that consumers wouldn’t pay for more than two streaming services in a crowded marketplace. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 Harris’ defense lawyer Fidel Cassino-DuCloux didn’t challenge his client’s continued detention. oregonlive, 25 May 2021 Rodrigo could challenge for the Number One spot on the Artists 500 next week when her debut album, Sour, hits the charts. Rs Charts, Rolling Stone, 24 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The sudden arrival of inflation as economies reboot following the coronavirus pandemic is a major challenge for policymakers around the world. Charles Riley, CNN, 2 June 2021 The cost of living — particularly housing — could continue to be a challenge for many, but the county is still more affordable than Los Angeles, San Francisco and some other regions in California. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 June 2021 Changing course on some big strategic projects, like pricing optimization, was a challenge for us at the beginning of the pandemic. Forbes, 1 June 2021 That will be the challenge for post-pandemic retirees: finding new ways to grab the fun. Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 June 2021 Transitioning from the starting rotation — where his baseball career began — to the bullpen was a new challenge for Norris during the 2020 season. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 31 May 2021 The hiking trail has some steep hills, which can be a challenge for some. Tyler Carter, Dallas News, 28 May 2021 Domestic violence is a daily challenge for the Boston Police Department, which responded to an average of 34 calls a day from households in crisis last year, according to department data. BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2021 Finding ways to sell policies cost-effectively to average-income families has been a challenge for insurers. Leslie Scism, WSJ, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'challenge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of challenge

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 6

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

History and Etymology for challenge

Verb and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about challenge

Time Traveler for challenge

Time Traveler

The first known use of challenge was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Challenge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/challenge. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for challenge

challenge

verb

English Language Learners Definition of challenge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

challenge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of challenge (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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.

challenge

verb
chal·​lenge | \ ˈcha-lənj How to pronounce challenge (audio) \
challenged; challenging

Kids Definition of challenge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to object to as bad or incorrect : dispute The coach challenged the referee's call.
2 : to confront or defy boldly He challenged them to prove him wrong.
3 : to invite or dare to take part in a contest Are you challenging us to a race?
4 : to be difficult enough to be interesting to : test the skill or ability of This puzzle will challenge you.
5 : to halt and demand identification from The guard challenged the stranger.

Other Words from challenge

challenger noun

challenge

noun

Kids Definition of challenge (Entry 2 of 2)

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 : a call or dare for someone to compete in a contest or sport
3 : a difficult task or problem Memorizing the poem was a challenge.
4 : an order to stop and provide identification

challenge

transitive verb
chal·​lenge | \ ˈchal-ənj How to pronounce challenge (audio) \
challenged; challenging

Medical Definition of challenge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

challenge

noun

Medical Definition of challenge (Entry 2 of 2)

: the process of provoking or testing physiological activity by exposure to a specific substance especially : a test of immunity by exposure to an antigen after immunization against it

Keep scrolling for more

challenge

transitive verb
chal·​lenge
challenged; challenging

Legal Definition of challenge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to dispute especially as being invalid or unjust counsel challenged this interpretation
2 : to question formally (as by a suit or motion) the legality or legal qualifications of challenge the regulations especially : to make a challenge to (a trier of fact) the grounds for challenging prospective jurors — W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr. — compare recuse

challenge

noun

Legal Definition of challenge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a calling into question especially : a questioning of validity or legality : objection when the challenge to the statute is in effect a challenge of this basic assumption Kramer v. Union Free School Dist. No. 15, 395 U.S. 621 (1969) — see also batson challenge
2 : a request to disqualify a trier of fact (as a jury member or judge) — compare recusal, strike
challenge for cause
: a challenge especially of a prospective juror based on a specific and stated cause or reason
challenge to the array
: a challenge of an entire jury that raises objections to the selection process
peremptory challenge
: a challenge especially of a prospective juror that does not require a stated cause or reason

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!