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

Every year, Clean Freak Car Wash offers an annual retreat for staff to recap the year, paint a vision for the next year and to challenge their thinking in business. Leigh Farr, azcentral, "MEDIUM COMPANY RANKINGS:," 13 June 2019 Congressional reluctance to challenge Trump could be tested in coming months. Paul Wiseman And Steve Peoples, chicagotribune.com, "Businesses showing discontent with Trump's trade policies," 12 June 2019 Will the men at Guantánamo ever be able to challenge their imprisonment? S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court refuses to hear a Guantánamo detainee's appeal," 12 June 2019 Try it on your next leg day to challenge (and build) your strength and power. Amy Marturana, SELF, "A 4-Move Lower-Body Kettlebell Workout to Strengthen Your Legs and Butt," 11 June 2019 Lansbury is the first non-action star to be challenged to a fight. Justin Curto, PEOPLE.com, "Dick Van Dyke Vows to 'Defend' Angela Lansbury After Another Actor Challenges Her to a Fight," 11 June 2019 Guantanamo does not feature in Thornberry’s $17 billion amendment, though both Republicans and Democrats expect Republicans to challenge the matter independently Wednesday. Washington Post, "Trump’s emergency border wall declaration to fuel partisan fighting in defense bill," 11 June 2019 There’s a group of teams set to challenge for the throne. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Alex Morgan hopes to translate years of sacrifices into elite World Cup run, another U.S. title," 11 June 2019 The Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame fundraiser, which on Sunday attracted 19 of the 23 Democrats competing to challenge President Trump, offered a preview of the first candidate debates in Miami over two nights later this month. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Close Encounters at the Iowa Democratic Fundraiser," 9 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And if O'Rourke were to pivot back to Texas, trying to take Cornyn's Senate seat would still be major challenge. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Stephen Colbert asks Beto O'Rourke to drop White House bid, run for Senate seat in Texas," 13 June 2019 High-speed internet has been built up in remote areas in recent years, but connecting rural communities is still a significant challenge, even with FirstNet. Author: Rachel D'oro, Anchorage Daily News, "Big earthquake let Anchorage police test new national broadband network for first responders," 13 June 2019 High-speed internet has been built up in remote areas in recent years, but connecting rural communities is still a significant challenge, even with FirstNet. Washington Post, "New network for first responders raises concern among media," 13 June 2019 That would have been a formidable challenge for a student educated under the old system, in which pupils took care to respond in exactly the way the teacher expected. Peg Tyre, BostonGlobe.com, "How to survive in an AI world," 13 June 2019 This particular day, a pile of socks in a laundry basket was a challenge as family members tried to find matching pairs, laughing and teasing each other. Jose Arredondo, ExpressNews.com, "Sandoval quads set to make San Antonio history again," 12 June 2019 Brexit is by far the biggest challenge facing the next prime minister. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The race to be the next British prime minister, briefly explained," 11 June 2019 Off the field has kind of wore me down a bit, so to bring it every single day here has been a challenge. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Outspoken Loons center back Ike Opara’s views on equality, concussions, his former club," 10 June 2019 Staying in business in the Upper Peninsula is a challenge. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "In the Upper Peninsula, weed is a lonely pursuit for its one and only dispensary," 10 June 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

16 Jun 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 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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