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 challenge (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 One idea is to have team members can challenge each other to record a video of them doing pushups, squats and planks. Caroline Lee, Forbes, "Seven Solutions To Avoid Burning Out Your Customer Support Team," 7 May 2021 Those signatures cleared the city and Maricopa County review process earlier in the week, which triggered a five-day window where others could challenge the validity of signatures to try to stop the measure from making the ballot. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Mesa group drops referendum to repeal city law offering LGBTQ protections," 7 May 2021 Alzheimer’s disease, although other researchers challenge that theory. BostonGlobe.com, "Drug pricing watchdog says there’s ‘insufficient’ evidence that Biogen’s Alzheimer’s medicine would help patients," 5 May 2021 These results challenge commonly held beliefs about the nature of substance use disorder as a constantly recurring condition with little room for improvement. David Eddie, STAT, "People recover from addiction. They also go on to do good things," 3 May 2021 That decision prompted other bidders, Jeff Bezos’s company, Blue Origin and Dynetics of Huntsville, Ala., to challenge the award with. New York Times, "SpaceX Makes First Nighttime Splashdown With Astronauts Since 1968," 2 May 2021 There are no limits on how many ballots poll watchers can challenge. Fredreka Schouten, CNN, "Republican state lawmakers look to empower partisan poll watchers, setting off alarms about potential voter intimidation," 1 May 2021 To be clear, none of them were ugly; this was just our attempt to highlight and challenge the inherent misogyny of the sketch world! Casey Wilson, Vulture, "‘The Relief Outweighed the Regret’," 30 Apr. 2021 The popular restaurant, which champions those in the military and first responders, also received a citation and challenge coin from Mayor Craig Moe. Mary Sullivan, baltimoresun.com, "Wreaths Across America boosted by donation from Laurel’s Mission BBQ | OLD TOWN," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But rather than giving prospective athletes pause, that mental challenge is responsible for luring untold numbers of otherwise sane, accomplished professionals to take up pursuits that by definition put them in mortal danger. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "The Quest for Adrenaline: What Drives Extreme Athletes to Climb Mountains, Kayak Waterfalls and More," 9 May 2021 Even for corporate leaders like Merrill who place a premium on employees working shoulder-to-shoulder, the challenge is to adapt to a post-pandemic environment that might make traditional work models obsolete. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "CEO dismissed working from home. Her employees went on strike.," 8 May 2021 That challenge was evident in upstate New York, where the mid-sized city of Syracuse is home to a large university but is surrounded by scenic areas whose beauty belies the underlying strain of rural poverty. oregonlive, "Public health workers soldier on through unprecedented pandemic: Health Care Heroes 2021," 8 May 2021 The first challenge is the actual design of the wire mesh. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Lunar telescope could reveal the Dark Ages of the universe," 8 May 2021 And that challenge was exactly the nectar entrenched coaches such as Ogden, Terry, Howard and Maligi needed to be lured away. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas assistants embrace challenge of building 'Monday night program'," 7 May 2021 The challenge in collecting them, though, is that ringlets don’t flit showily from flower to flower, especially the pregnant females, who tend to hunker down in the grass. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "With a little help from ecologists and a net, a butterfly makes its way back to S.F.'s Presidio," 7 May 2021 The real policy challenge right now will be to return the labor market to its previous momentum. Christian Weller, Forbes, "The Fairy Tale Of Labor Shortages Just Got Proven Wrong," 7 May 2021 That means every challenge is now vital because winning is the only way to stay safe. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: All Stars recap: Another double elimination shakes up house politics," 7 May 2021

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

Time Traveler for challenge

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for challenge

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Challenge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/challenge. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!