com·​pete | \ kəm-ˈpēt How to pronounce compete (audio) \
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

The theme is teams are going to either compete for titles or rebuild. Gary Washburn,, "Once Paul George demanded a trade, Sam Presti knew he had to rebuild the Thunder," 13 July 2019 Smithson Valley’s run this spring is proof that an area team can compete for championships once children reach high school, Ford said. Alex Miller,, "Lacrosse growing among San Antonio youth, across Texas," 12 July 2019 Grand Canyon athletics competed in NAIA then NCAA Division II until 2013 before joining the Western Athletic Conference and transitioning to Division I. In August 2017, the Antelopes became eligible for Division I postseason competition. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "ASU changes policy, Sun Devil athletics free to add Grand Canyon opponents to schedules," 11 July 2019 There will be no competing with you at the coffee shop or at office meetings. Chris Welch, The Verge, "LG Gram 17 review: as ultra-portable as 17 inches can get," 11 July 2019 Many Indonesian planters would abhor this semiwilderness, worrying the understory would compete with oil palm trees for water and nutrients. Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Science | AAAS, "Courting controversy, scientists team with industry to tackle one of the world’s most destructive crops," 11 July 2019 In 2003 Simpson-Waverly was chosen as a Blue Ribbon School, in part, because students there regularly had the highest scores among city schools on state tests and also competed with suburban schools. Steven Goode,, "Bloomfield Superintendent of Schools James Thompson will be named to top state education post, sources say," 10 July 2019 But that massive support for the U.S. Women’s National Team hasn’t always translated into support for the league that the U.S. players compete in on a regular basis. Jamie Goldberg,, "Will support for the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Team carry over to the National Women’s Soccer League?," 10 July 2019 Allen said the plan would help the company effectively compete with other casual restaurants as online ordering, changes in consumer preferences and food delivery partners are dominating the industry. Abdel Jimenez,, "Boston Market closes four locations in Illinois," 10 July 2019

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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Statistics for compete

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce compete (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on compete

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compete

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compete

Spanish Central: Translation of compete

Nglish: Translation of compete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compete for Arabic Speakers

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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