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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This stationary bike boasts a ton of great features, including 22 workout modes, Bluetooth connectivity and a whopping 25 resistance levels that will help to consistently challenge you. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Best Buy has a ton of workout equipment on sale right now," 5 Jan. 2021 All three of us had this amazingly successful movie and then had to really claim our lives and push ourselves to find the parts that were more complicated, that would challenge us, so we wouldn’t be defined by this one film. New York Times, "‘Cobra Kai’: Strike First. Strike Hard. Come Back for More.," 3 Jan. 2021 Kids Baking Championship Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman put the 10 kid bakers on teams and challenge them to create cupcake rainbows. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘The Bachelor’ on ABC; ‘Jeopardy!’," 3 Jan. 2021 Democrat Alex Padilla hasn’t even been sworn in to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate, and Republicans already must struggle to find someone to challenge him in 2022. Anna Buchmann, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: ‘This is an anxious period’," 29 Dec. 2020 Haaland would be able to use executive authority to curtail, if not stop, new federal drilling, but Republicans in Congress from fossil fuel states are promising to challenge her. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Deb Haaland in no-win situation over Biden federal drilling ban," 23 Dec. 2020 The tree must stand strong against the winds that challenge it. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Locking Up the Lincoln Lawyer," 18 Dec. 2020 If the Illinois High School Association does hold a state meet this season, Boyle expects Senese to challenge him for the state title in the 50. Matt Le Cren, chicagotribune.com, "‘It clicked’: Neuqua Valley sprinter Jimmy Senese navigates twists and turns, takes need for speed in swimming to University of Tampa," 17 Dec. 2020 Ludwig also noted that the Trump campaign was aware of these changes months before they were put in place and should have sought to challenge them before the election, not after Trump lost. Alan Feuer, Star Tribune, "Federal judge in Wisconsin deals Trump another court defeat," 12 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ordering the proper size mud boots can be a particular challenge. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Rubber Boots for Stomping Through Mud and Puddles," 6 Jan. 2021 Because the Colorado River is so large, envisioning the local impacts of water transfers can be a challenge for decision makers, especially when the communities are as remote as Cibola. New York Times, "Wall Street Eyes Billions in the Colorado’s Water," 3 Jan. 2021 Guiding such legislation through the House will be a challenge for Pelosi because her party's narrow majority means just a handful of defectors could be fatal. Alan Fram, BostonGlobe.com, "Pelosi narrowly reelected speaker, faces difficult 2021," 3 Jan. 2021 Damian Lillard said his team knew defeating the Warriors twice in back-to-back games on their home court would be a challenge. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers complete California trip with 137-122 loss at Golden State Warriors: Game rewind," 3 Jan. 2021 Guiding such legislation through the House will be a challenge for Pelosi because her party’s narrow majority means just a handful of defectors could be fatal. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, "Pelosi narrowly reelected speaker, faces difficult 2021," 3 Jan. 2021 The simple act of washing your clothes, dishes, and even your hands can be a challenge when your skin is easily prone to irritation. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "The Best Laundry Detergents and Soaps to Use If You Have Sensitive Skin," 2 Jan. 2021 The evident difficulty of getting billionaire wealth to trickle down to everyone else is a challenge for policymakers in our new gilded era. Washington Post, "World’s richest men added billions to their fortunes last year as others struggled," 1 Jan. 2021 But cultivating new skills and habits is a challenge. Tom Vanderbilt, WSJ, "For New Year’s Resolutions, Never Think You’re Too Old to Become a Beginner," 31 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for challenge

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Challenge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/challenge. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for challenge

challenge

verb
How to pronounce challenge (audio)

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

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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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