com·pete | \kəm-ˈpēt \
competed; competing

Definition of compete 

intransitive verb

: to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (such as position, profit, or a prize) : be in a state of rivalry competing teams companies competing for customers

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Examples of compete in a Sentence

Thousands of applicants are competing for the same job. She competed against students from around the country. We are competing with companies that are twice our size. Did you compete in the track meet on Saturday? The radio and the television were both on, competing for our attention.
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Recent Examples on the Web

What soccer allowed Bacca is much like what the World Cup offers younger, poorer, less powerful nations: the possibility of competing with and besting the world’s traditional winners. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Underdog Magic of the World Cup," 14 July 2018 His biography becomes a second core to Sacred Games, competing with the crime mystery itself. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sacred Games Reinvents the Police Procedural," 12 July 2018 The parties the founders feared competed strongly with each other in both urban and rural areas. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 For the first time in a long, long time, Serie A matches will attract audiences that can compete with Real Madrid, Barcelona and the top Premier League clubs. Jonathan Wilson,, "Cristiano Ronaldo's Transfer Has Seismic Impact at Real Madrid, Juventus, Beyond," 10 July 2018 At one point, Kavanaugh urged judges to defer to the FDA and other scientific agencies, largely on the grounds that courts could not compete with the agencies’ expertise. Lev Facher, STAT, "Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick for court, has left trail of opinions on health care and pharma issues," 10 July 2018 The Tennessee General Assembly passed a law aimed at helping its border cities compete with rivals in other states. Washington Post, "2 cities share name, but 1 is in big trouble," 6 July 2018 It cannot be overstated how much the show is made distinct, and improved, by the fact that it's filmed and aired in nearly real time, a fact with which most American shows just can't compete. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Why You Should Watch Love Island, the British Reality Dating Show With a New Episode Every Day," 6 July 2018 The electric-car-focused venture, which will compete with BMW and Daimler’s DriveNow and Car2Go services, will expand across Europe, North America and Asia in the next couple years. David Meyer, Fortune, "GE Arrest, Glencore Buyback, Trump's Invasion Curiosity: CEO Daily for July 5, 2018," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compete.' 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 compete

1620, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compete

Late Latin competere to seek together, from Latin, to come together, agree, be suitable, from com- + petere to go to, seek — more at feather

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Phrases Related to compete

can't compete

Statistics for compete

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compete

The first known use of compete was in 1620

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More Definitions for compete



English Language Learners Definition of compete

: to try to get or win something (such as a prize or reward) that someone else is also trying to win : to try to be better or more successful than someone or something else

: to try to be noticed, accepted, or chosen over something else


com·pete | \kəm-ˈpēt \
competed; competing

Kids Definition of compete

: to strive for something (as a prize or a reward) for which another is also striving

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Comments on compete

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


lying above or upon

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