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, nut, 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

For that reason, the ruling from the federal court about the Wisconsin law should not stop Florida’s union from successfully challenging the new state law as violating the Florida Constitution, Meyer said. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "New teachers union rules spark debate — and more dues-paying members," 12 July 2018 Once the boys completed the underwater portion of their journey, which took around two hours, the going was easier — though still challenging. Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock And Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue," 12 July 2018 Owens responded by challenging Hill to a debate on the topic. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Candace Owens challenges ESPN star Jemele Hill to racism debate, says Dems use her to 'paralyze blacks with undue fear'," 10 July 2018 The federal law was still constitutional at the time, and the leagues were not engaged in bad faith by challenging New Jersey’s law, said Mishkin, a partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York. Andrew Maykuth, Philly.com, "N.J. racetrack that won legal battle over sports betting now wants NFL, NBA to pay up," 9 July 2018 Calls for his release using the hashtag #freeariel spread on social media, an unusual occurrence in a country where many Cubans often worry about publicly challenging the government. Nelson Acosta And Sarah Marsh, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cuba releases environmental activist on parole after hunger strike," 5 July 2018 Build cardiovascular health by challenging the heart and working the muscles of the hips, legs and arms with dance moves. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Daughters of American Revolution install officers," 4 July 2018 More troubling, the Froome case sets up a blueprint for how to challenge any WADA test. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "The Chris Froome Ruling Just Broke Anti-Doping," 3 July 2018 And if that’s not enough, how about pre-existing conditions now that Trump has joined the state of Florida in challenging in court the constitutionality of pre-existing conditions. Adam C. Smith, miamiherald, "Bill Nelson says he expects to vote against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Make your child's schedule work as well as possible Each year brings its own scheduling challenges. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "6 tips to help get your kid in back-to-school mode," 12 July 2018 The mother-daughter duo teamed up to compete on Thursday’s episode of Double Dare, Nickelodeon’s revival of the popular ’90s game show known for its messy physical challenges. PEOPLE.com, "See Jamie Lynn Spears and Daughter Maddie Get Pied in the Face as They Compete on Double Dare," 12 July 2018 The 11-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion has his big next challenge: Stuffing pints of ice cream into his face on a summer day at the Indiana State Fair. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Competitive eater Joey Chestnut will shovel ice cream into mouth at the Indiana State Fair," 10 July 2018 Last week, four current and former House members submitted a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of the unions in their federal court challenge. Lisa Rein, Anchorage Daily News, "New curbs on federal unions begin to take effect," 9 July 2018 Her chief rival for the nomination is a former state senator who got lots of attention for her ill-fated primary challenge to Sen. John McCain in 2016. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Power Rankings: Not so peachy primaries," 9 July 2018 USA TODAY NETWORK Fifteen at-risk teens bicycling their way from Loveland to Niagara Falls will encounter their first big challenge before the journey begins. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "At-risk teens surrender cell phones for a 500-mile bike ride to Niagara," 6 July 2018 As his star keeps burning, his challenge will be to keep his flame hot. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "With Two U.S. Opens in His Bag, Brooks Koepka Still Wants to Be the Underdog," 3 July 2018 Being a landlord of a property with low-wage renters has its challenges, including dealing with some tenants with disabilities and mental health issues. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "JoCo agency gave low-income residents a lifeline. Now it's shutting down," 1 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

3 Nov 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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