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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Baltimore’s State’s Attorney signed onto an amicus curiae brief filed Wednesday in United States v. Safehouse, a federal civil lawsuit in Pennsylvania filed by federal attorneys in February challenging the legality of such a site in Philadelphia. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Amid Baltimore’s opioid crisis, Mosby supports legal safe injection sites in new brief," 10 July 2019 The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cedar Park Church this spring in federal court, challenging the statute as unconstitutional on religious-freedom grounds. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "The Church Challenging Washington State’s One-Size-Fits-All Abortion Requirement," 10 July 2019 Milwaukee challenged a whistled foul late in the Bucks’ Friday afternoon 107-106 loss to Philadelphia. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "Coach's Challenges Are Coming: Is the NBA Ready?," 10 July 2019 Evangelista challenged the allegation during a court hearing in Julio’s asylum case. Melissa Del Bosque, ProPublica, "Immigration Officials Use Secretive Gang Databases to Deny Migrant Asylum Claims," 8 July 2019 In 2000, Myra Garcia, one of the parents who fought Castañeda in the cheerleader battle, successfully challenged Castañeda’s husband, Robert, for his seat on the Harlandale board of trustees. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "South Side activist led the charge against Harlandale superintendent," 6 July 2019 Another Frenchman, Julian Alaphilipe, who rides for the cycling's most dominant team in terms of race wins, Deceunicnck-QuickStep, is defending his King of the Mountains title this year and will likely challenge for victories on a number of stages. Paul Gittings, CNN, "An ill wind blows the battle for yellow at the Tour de France wide open," 5 July 2019 Stinebaugh later successfully challenged the career-ending suspension in court and is currently in good standing, according to the New Mexico Racing Commission. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Pharmacy owner whose drugs led to doped racehorses admits to peddling unsafe equine drugs," 5 July 2019 In the debate on June 27, Harris challenged Biden on his reputation as a civil rights advocate with receipts and a personal anecdote about having to bus to school in Berkeley, California. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "Kamala Harris Fields Questions About Her Stance Busing," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My overriding impression is that the engineering challenge of just making the hinges work reliably and the screens fold and unfold without breaking is so large as to overwhelm other considerations. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The best foldables are going to be widescreen," 12 July 2019 The company intends to announce a successor next week, who will face the challenge of dealing with shrinking profits and the expensive race to develop electric cars. Sara Germano, WSJ, "Daimler Issues Another Profit Warning as Legal Woes, Recalls Hit," 12 July 2019 The danger of escorting ships in troubled waters Military planners during the Reagan years worried about the challenges of sending American ships to the Gulf during such a tense time. Alex Ward, Vox, "The US has a risky new plan to protect oil tankers from Iranian attacks," 12 July 2019 The challenge of absorbing this new technology into the values and practices of the existing culture has no precedent. The Atlantic, "The Metamorphosis," 11 July 2019 Jenks faces the logistical challenge of returning the 737 Max to flight once it is cleared by regulators. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Boeing 737 Max chief to retire amid executive shuffle," 11 July 2019 The Italians have been tracking the centre-back all summer following an immense showing for the Eredivisie champions last campaign, the Old Lady fending off the challenges of several other top European clubs to land their target. SI.com, "Matthijs de Ligt to Be Unveiled as a Juventus Player This Weekend as Saga Nears Conclusion," 11 July 2019 Often, however, there are few repercussions for polluters, given the challenges of tracing the nurdles back to their origin and tracking down offenders. Julissa Treviño, WIRED, "Little Plastic 'Nurdles' Are Flooding Beaches and Waterways," 10 July 2019 The Idaho militia group, though, is solely seeking to support the men’s challenge of their misdemeanor convictions, saying a jury should have been allowed to decide the lower-level offenses. oregonlive.com, "Idaho 3 Percenters seek ‘friend of the court’ status in Oregon refuge occupiers’ appeal of federal convictions," 8 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about challenge

Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for challenge

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on challenge

What made you want to look up challenge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!