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 challengeable (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

Opposition leaders have repeatedly questioned the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission and of the security agencies policing the poll, raising fears the result could be challenged on the streets. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Nigeria’s Election Gets Under Way After a Stop-Start Runup," 23 Feb. 2019 He is challenged and changed by this union with a whip-smart woman who always lives her truth. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "We Need to Talk About Outlander Season 4," 25 Jan. 2019 Other cities have adopted similar laws Seattle’s law is being challenged as more and more cities adopt similar, proactive programs to help improve rental inspections. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Seattle’s mandatory rental inspection law challenged in lawsuit," 6 Dec. 2018 Lisa was challenged to create a world that felt familiar...ish. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Netflix Has Hidden All Kinds Of Easter Eggs In The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina House," 25 Oct. 2018 All of these inconsistencies will be challenged by the prosecutor. Fox News, "High school friend of Kavanaugh reacts to new allegation; Alan Dershowitz on Kavanaugh chaos," 28 Sep. 2018 The problem for Democrats is that the ideology of race, gender and class is now so deeply ingrained on the political left that no one dares to challenge it. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Democrats’ Identity Meltdown," 10 Feb. 2019 But despite the ugliness on social media and the way in which the internet has challenged them in recent years, don’t expect the royals to head offline. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "How the Internet’s Obsession with the Royal Family Turned Toxic," 10 Feb. 2019 More broadly, the Trump presidency has defined much of its mission by challenging the global institutions that emerged out of World War II such as NATO and what eventually became the World Trade Organization. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Trump to tap David Malpass, critic of World Bank, to lead it," 6 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Farmers have responded to these challenges with typical ingenuity—diversifying crops, introducing... Michael Bennet, WSJ, "Trump Has Been Bad for Farmers," 6 Mar. 2019 It’s through challenge and in a weird way through friction. Monica Kim, Vogue, "J.W. Anderson on the Beauty of Being Basic—And His Latest Uniqlo Collection," 3 Mar. 2019 The couple's packed itinerary on the trip included meetings with the Police Service in Northern Ireland to hear about the challenges officers there face and taking part in a workshop at the Braid Arts Centre. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince George Told Kate Middleton That She's "Rubbish" at Soccer," 3 Mar. 2019 Brother, the show that pits Drew and Jonathan against each other in design and renovation challenges. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Did The Third Property Brother Make a Surprise Performance At The Oscars?!," 25 Feb. 2019 But PolitiFact, a nonprofit project operated by the Poynter Institute, is up to the challenge. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Skip Trump's Prime-Time Immigration Address With 7 These Other Things You Can Watch Instead," 8 Jan. 2019 Orlando Bloom, her new fiancé, nailed the challenge. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katy Perry's Engagement Ring from Orlando Bloom Has a Surprising Link to Princess Diana," 16 Feb. 2019 Working with a limited budget presents an additional challenge. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Ways to Find an Actually Affordable Therapist," 15 Feb. 2019 Cruz is facing a tough midterm challenge from Beto O’Rourke, although the Democrat has been trailing the incumbent Texas senator on average by 7-points, despite record-high donations and flattering media coverage of his campaign. Fox News, "Protester filmed screaming 'I hate Ted Cruz,' tearing up signs in Houston neighborhood," 18 Oct. 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.

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

Share challenge

Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for challenge

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

See more words from the same century

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on challenge

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!