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

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

On Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was challenged on Fox News for saying 4,000 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended coming into the country. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Senate Democrats Block Legislation to Press GOP on Shutdown," 8 Jan. 2019 His clothes often challenge social and cultural moments in a way that sparks necessary discussion. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "We Need to Talk About Michelle Obama's Book Tour Outfits," 20 Dec. 2018 Since his defeat, Poliquin has been looking for ways to contest the results, from challenging the new system’s constitutionality in federal court to demanding a recount. Rachel Withers, Vox, "The somewhat absurd controversy over Maine’s ranked choice voting system, explained," 9 Dec. 2018 For challenging the status quo in that way, Williams will always be a winner in the eyes of women of color, who too are owed apologies from society. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams Demanded the Apology All Black Women Deserve," 10 Sep. 2018 At one point, TV cameras caught the Jonas boys and challenged them to do the floss dance. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Showed Some Major PDA At the US Open," 4 Sep. 2018 As much as your back may be challenged at the moment, remember that your muscles are simply overworking, doing a temporary job of trying to support your spine. Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Good Housekeeping, "What to Do Right After You Throw Out Your Back," 26 July 2018 But translating Roset’s art into a game was challenging. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The art behind the gorgeous indie game Gris," 20 Dec. 2018 This weighted version amps up the already-challenging exercise. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "7 Last-Minute Fitness Gifts You Can Order From Target to Still Arrive by Christmas," 20 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Such a move is sure to spark a flood of legal challenges questioning the president’s authority as well as whether the situation at the border really constitutes an emergency. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Can Trump declare emergency to build his wall?," 8 Jan. 2019 But, rest assured, you have been prepared well for this challenge by the very best instructors in the World. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Read the Speech Prince William Delivered at the Sovereign's Parade," 14 Dec. 2018 This is the biggest challenge for growing herbs indoors, as most require six hours of bright light. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden That Actually Stays Alive All Winter," 7 Dec. 2018 The lawsuit marks the first formal legal challenge against the widespread game industry practice of appropriating pop culture, like dance moves and memes, and turning it into virtual items for sale. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Epic Games is getting sued for turning rapper 2 Milly’s dance into a Fortnite emote," 5 Dec. 2018 But visibility remains a challenge for women in the industry. Marie Claire, "She's Got Game," 5 Dec. 2018 Treating Alzheimer’s has been a challenge because, until now, little meaningful progress has been made. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Today’s political climate in the U.S. has brought out even more challenges for Stroeve’s area of study. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Three Women in Science Who Broke the Glass Ceiling," 5 Oct. 2018 An emerging equity challenge played out in 2018, invisibly, through the rise of automation. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How cities became more equitable in 2018," 26 Dec. 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 and Noun

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

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Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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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to settle judicially or to act as judge

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