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

Other retailers have struggled to compete with H-E-B on price, quality and reputation, Ladd said. Madison Iszler,, "Here’s why H-E-B is the grocery king of South Texas," 14 June 2019 Moreover, several members of the U.S. Women's World Cup team have competed alongside Europe's best players in recent years, handsomely compensated to bring their skills to overseas club teams. Liz Clarke,, "The US World Cup team’s greatest challenge: rising European powers," 14 June 2019 At last week’s national championships, Mitch Unrein was on hand to take care of Lane while his wife was competing. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska trapshooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein is back on the range, with a baby," 14 June 2019 Gentry caters and competes (in rivalries as all-encompassing as Memphis in May and specific as the Lowcountry Ribeye Steak Championship) and does pop-up-style events. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Committed to BBQ: Orlando area barbecue champs share stories of smoke and glory," 13 June 2019 Republicans, who have been recipients of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the Morouns over the years, have fought the second, and competing, span over the Detroit River. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "House GOP backs off language on Gordie Howe bridge spending," 13 June 2019 Usually the Department of Justice competes its investigation and determines what to do on the competitive front before the FCC takes action. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "'Fewer Choices, Higher Prices': Here's What Spurred 10 States to Try and Stop the Sprint T-Mobile Merger," 12 June 2019 Because of taxes and heavy regulatory fees, legal operators ‘‘cannot compete with illicit operators,’’ the group said. Michael R. Blood,, "Get tough: Pot industry wants LA crackdown on rogue shops," 11 June 2019 Dominic competed during season 3 and has been a regular on SYTYCD ever since. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Why the New 'So You Think Can Dance' Judge Dominic Sandoval a.k.a. "D-trix" Looks So Familiar," 10 June 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

18 Jun 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).


showing courage and determination

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