challenge

1 of 2

verb

chal·​lenge ˈcha-lənj How to pronounce challenge (audio)
challenged; challenging

transitive verb

1
: to dispute especially as being unjust, invalid, or outmoded : impugn
new data that challenges old assumptions
2
a
: 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 … leadershipC. H. Driver
2
: to take legal exception
challenger noun
challengeable adjective

challenge

2 of 2

noun

1
: a stimulating task or problem
looking for new challenges
2
a
: 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.
3
a
: 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Robert Tucker, 76, of Southfield, said Democrats should have stepped up to challenge Biden. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2024 The wildfire is a little more challenging in the backcountry, where there’s more wilderness and challenging terrain to navigate. Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2024
Noun
Above all else, Starmer will face the challenge of overcoming the perceptions built up during the past decade. Joshua Keating, Vox, 2 July 2024 The voucher gives the drug innovator an asset to help offset the significant expenses and challenges associated with developing a therapy for a rare pediatric disease. Pamela K. Gavin, STAT, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for challenge 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'challenge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 6

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

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

Dictionary Entries Near challenge

Cite this Entry

“Challenge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/challenge. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

challenge

1 of 2 verb
chal·​lenge ˈchal-ənj How to pronounce challenge (audio)
challenged; challenging
1
: to order to stop and prove identity
2
a
: to object to as bad or incorrect : dispute
b
: to demand proof that something is right or legal
3
: to invite or dare to take part in a contest
4
: to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties
challenger noun

challenge

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: a demand that someone take part in a duel
b
: an invitation or dare for someone to compete in a contest or sport
2
: an objection to something as not being true, genuine, correct, or proper or to a person (as a juror) as not being qualified or approved
3
: a sentry's command to halt and prove identity
4
: a stimulating task or problem

Medical Definition

challenge

1 of 2 transitive verb
chal·​lenge ˈchal-ənj How to pronounce challenge (audio)
challenged; challenging
: to administer a physiological and especially an immunologic challenge to (an organism or cell)

challenge

2 of 2 noun
: 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

Legal Definition

challenge

1 of 2 transitive verb
chal·​lenge
challenged; challenging
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

2 of 2 noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on challenge

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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