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

This might be news even to Michigan and Ohio State fans, but these two schools compete at the varsity level in sports other than football. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "The School That Really Owns Ohio State-Michigan," 22 Nov. 2018 As a black woman competing in Georgia at the same time as governor candidate Stacey Abrams, McBath was likely helped by the top of the ticket. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "6 years ago her son was murdered. Now Lucy McBath is heading to Congress.," 8 Nov. 2018 On Thursday, Deadspin reported, the Olympic gymnast competed at the selection camp for the upcoming world championships, which will take place in Doha, Qatar. Emily Wang, Glamour, "Simone Biles Just Nailed a Gymnastics Move No Woman Has Ever Done Before," 12 Oct. 2018 The 32-year-old siblings, the oldest artistic swimmers to compete at the Asian Games, topped the technical and free routines to win with 186.5101 points, more than four clear of Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida who took silver for Japan. John Pye, Fox News, "Christie wins host Indonesia's signature gold at Asian Games," 28 Aug. 2018 Each league operates slightly differently, but at the end of the year the best teams from around the globe compete in a world championship that is viewed by millions. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Why competitive gaming is starting to look a lot like professional sports," 27 July 2018 No one is immune to anxiety and mental health issues, and that includes Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete at the Olympics in a hijab. Taylyn Washington-harmon, SELF, "How Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Deals With the Unexpected Physical Symptoms of Anxiety," 24 July 2018 Heading to Pebble Beach, Shepherd has many things to feel positive about — her talent, her future and her opportunity to compete on some of the biggest stages in golf. Clifton Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Center Grove's Erica Shepherd looking for repeat junior title, LPGA future," 14 July 2018 The Waitress actress, who was persuaded by ex-husband Nick Cokas to compete on the Fox show, eventually finished as the runner-up to Taylor Hicks. Karen Mizoguchi,, "David Foster Jokes He Was 'Bragging' About Katharine McPhee During Her Season of American Idol," 12 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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Statistics for compete

Last Updated

3 Dec 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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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

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to enclose within walls

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