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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web There are only five players who did not compete in Beijing, where the Americans lost 3-2 to Canada. John Wawrow, ajc, 14 Aug. 2022 The program was created to be operated by private health insurers who compete against each other by offering the lowest premiums to consumers, providing an incentive to negotiate the lowest prices possible. Joseph Walker, WSJ, 14 Aug. 2022 State fairs are one of the few industries that don’t compete with one another. Sarah Muller, Forbes, 14 Aug. 2022 Purdue president Mitch Daniels pointed to the less than 1% of Purdue students who compete on intercollegiate teams. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Aug. 2022 The legislation earmarks nearly $53 billion over the next five years to expand US semiconductor manufacturing, including $1.5 billion for telecommunications companies that compete with Chinese firms such as Huawei. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, 9 Aug. 2022 Campbell said all school districts that compete in the Chagrin Valley Conference, of which Orange is a member, have been in contact with CVC Commissioner Don Lewis on this issue. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, 9 Aug. 2022 Hobbs won roughly three of every four ballots cast, defeating former Nogales Mayor Marco López, a Democratic opponent who ultimately couldn’t compete with Hobbs’ national presence defending the 2020 election in Arizona. Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic, 2 Aug. 2022 The field will start with 132 golfers who will compete in a stroke-play format over two days. Loren Holmes, Anchorage Daily News, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for compete

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The first known use of compete was in 1620

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Last Updated

17 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Compete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for compete


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

More from Merriam-Webster on compete

Nglish: Translation of compete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compete for Arabic Speakers


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