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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To play for coach Pearl and play in the SEC, which is one of the best conferences in the country, will not only challenge me but also develop me for the highest level. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "North Oldham's Justin Powell: Why I signed with Auburn basketball," 13 Nov. 2019 The escapologist was relentless in fighting anyone who challenged him, slighted him, doubted him. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Stick a fork in them: 50 years after their wedding, this couple gets its last gift," 12 Nov. 2019 Singh challenges himself with academically rigorous STEM-based. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Four CCPS students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists," 12 Nov. 2019 Malcolm Brogdon going up against Bucks, but can Indiana challenge them in Central Division? Duane Rankin, azcentral, "NBA Mondays: Waiters' bizarre situation, epic 3-on-3, Whiteside's critics, next NBA king," 11 Nov. 2019 Sokolov had been embroiled in a bitter plagiarism controversy with a professor from Moscow, and was accused of assaulting a student who challenged him during one of his lectures. Author: Will Englund, Anchorage Daily News, "Russia’s greatest Napoleonic re-enactor found drunk in a river with the severed arms of his lover in his backpack," 11 Nov. 2019 From 1920, the new Turkish Army occupied what was to become the little Kurdistan, and the Allies had no will to challenge them. John Broich, The Conversation, "Why there is no Kurdish nation," 6 Nov. 2019 Gavios began challenging herself through activities outside of physical therapy. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "She fell 150 feet off a cliff while fleeing an attacker. Three years later, she completed her second marathon," 6 Nov. 2019 What challenged you the most in taking on this role, especially taking it from stage to screen? Sharareh Drury, The Hollywood Reporter, "Kerry Washington on How 'American Son' Explores Motherhood, Race, Identity," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Weidemann would, for competitive reasons, not be drawn on the specific technical challenges Daimler has identified for autonomous vehicles in this context. David Meyer, Fortune, "Why Mercedes’s Self-Driving Trucks Are Set to Overtake Its Robotaxis," 15 Nov. 2019 Romney’s experience as the Republican nominee in 2012 speaks to the challenges that might present. BostonGlobe.com, "Deval Patrick worked at Bain Capital, a one-time Democratic target. How will voters respond now? - The Boston Globe," 15 Nov. 2019 In Forbes, Brianne Garrett looks at the challenges and opportunities facing black women in the wine business. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Gail Wines, a thrilling new label, reinterprets Sonoma Valley terroir," 14 Nov. 2019 The final and possibly biggest challenge facing ferry managers, according to MacKinnon, is the age of the fleet. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Aging fleet and declining ridership plague Alaska’s public ferry system," 14 Nov. 2019 So, naturally, Britt welcomes the challenge that No. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Auburn defense welcomes challenge of Georgia’s ‘downhill’ rushing attack," 13 Nov. 2019 Morell and Ghattas also discuss the challenges related to the spread of violent ideologies through social and other online media. CBS News, "Transcript: Carl Ghattas talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 13 Nov. 2019 If the justices sustain the challenges, the administration could try again to end the program. Mark Sherman, Twin Cities, "Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA," 12 Nov. 2019 Despite the challenges facing Zachary, Julie and her husband, Jim, agreed to take him in. Lizz Schumer, Woman's Day, "Childhelp Children’s Advocacy Center Is Aiding Victims of Abuse," 12 Nov. 2019

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

17 Nov 2019

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
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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