challenge

verb
chal·lenge | \ˈcha-lənj \
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

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Other Words from challenge

Verb

challenger noun
challengeable \ˈcha-lən-jə-bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for challenge

Synonyms: Verb

contest, dispute, impeach, oppugn, query, question

Synonyms: Noun

case, knot, matter, problem, trouble

Antonyms: Verb

accept, believe, embrace, swallow

Antonyms: Noun

answer, solution

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who could challenge May for her job, resigned from her Cabinet earlier this week over her Brexit plan, which would keep the U.K. in line with certain E.U. standards on the trade of goods. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Hours after bashing British leader May, Trump praises her," 13 July 2018 Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, who is challenging Galvin in a Democratic primary this year, also floated the potential of using the University of Massachusetts system and community colleges to register students. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Senate unanimously backs automatic voter registration; bill may reach governor soon," 13 July 2018 The bullet came from Vice President Aaron Burr, a member of his political party who challenged the Revolutionary War hero to a duel. Erin B. Logan, Washington Post, "Alexander Hamilton, immigrant and statesman, dies at 47 — or 49," 12 July 2018 Reiner’s film lionizes journalists from the Knight Ridder newspaper consortium who challenged the official narrative about weapons of mass destruction, even while respected outlets such as the New York Times failed to do so. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Liberal outrage in Rob Reiner's 'Shock and Awe'," 12 July 2018 The union also chose not to endorse two candidates with ties to Stoneman Douglas who are challenging School Board incumbents. Scott Travis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Teachers union not endorsing any candidate with ties to Stoneman Douglas," 12 July 2018 Hugin, who is challenging Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for his seat in New Jersey, has been criticized for price increases that occurred at Celgene under his leadership. Lev Facher, STAT, "Hugin comes under fire in New Jersey Senate campaign ad for hiking drug prices," 12 July 2018 But public pressure from gubernatorial nominee Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging him from the left, prompted Cuomo on Monday to urge the Senate, which is out of session for the summer, to reconvene to pass the law. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Blue States’ Regressive Abortion Laws," 11 July 2018 Claims of retaliation against staffers Management punishes those who challenge decisions, workers say, putting additional strain on the short-staffed facility. Martha Bellisle, The Seattle Times, "With patients at risk, Western State Hospital is ‘like going into hell’," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tim Draper, a venture capitalist who spent more than $1.7 million supporting the initiative, told the court in a letter that there’s not enough time to properly consider the legal challenge to his effort. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "'Cal 3' backer urges court to dismiss lawsuit opposing California break-up plan," 14 July 2018 This was the first government challenge in court to vertical integration in decades. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Justice Department Appealing Decision Allowing AT&T-Time Warner Merger," 12 July 2018 On Wednesday’s all-new Real Housewives of New York City, the 53-year-old mother of two confided in pals Carole Radziwill and Dorinda Medley about the challenges of being back in the Big Apple after her new lifestyle change. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Luann de Lesseps Admits It's 'Tempting' Being Around People Who Drink Amid Her Sobriety," 11 July 2018 While musicians dealt with the challenges of building and maintaining careers in the face of the new realities of their field, audiences developed new histories of participating with one another on their own terms. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 Beer sales have been slowly declining in Europe for some time, and American-style craft brands have started to make a name for themselves, which together poses a challenge to big brewers. San Antonio Express-News, "Not the beer that matters, it’s the bottle, right marketers?," 28 June 2018 That's a reminder of the challenges facing U.S. forces in Afghanistan in the 17th year of America's military involvement there. Lolita C. Baldor, chicagotribune.com, "Army ponders changes after insider attack that killed soldier in Afghanistan," 14 July 2018 Prosecutors argued Van Hook knew of the legal challenge over the lethal injection policy as early as 2009 but waited until last month to seek the stay. CBS News, "Prosecutor: Bring back firing squads for executions," 13 July 2018 One of the big challenges for Beck with the sequel to Ant-Man was an ambitious segment in the film's third act that's not only a massive car chase, but also cuts back and forth to a special mission starring Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Composer on Working to "Make People Cry"," 13 July 2018

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.

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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

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

Noun

see challenge entry 1

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Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for challenge

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

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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 \
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 \
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

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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

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Comments on challenge

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