con·​tend | \ kən-ˈtend How to pronounce contend (audio) \
contended; contending; contends

Definition of contend

intransitive verb

1 : to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties : struggle contended with the problems of municipal government will contend for the championship this year
2 : to strive in debate : argue

transitive verb

1 : maintain, assert contended that he was right contends that the new law would help only the wealthy
2 : to struggle for : contest She contended every point, objected to every request …— Margaret Mead

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Examples of contend in a Sentence

These people contend that they have earned the right to the land. The team is expected to contend for the championship this year.
Recent Examples on the Web Then the winner, and perhaps the loser, will contend in the March 3 primary for the term that begins in 2021. Dallas News, "Light turnout expected for race to replace Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson in Texas House," 27 Jan. 2020 Razak is Aziz’s stepfather, and Belfort’s lawyers contend that Aziz acquired the rights to his story with funding misappropriated from 1MDB. Christian Holub,, "The Wolf of Wall Street," 24 Jan. 2020 Demure also claimed that introducing children to drag was harmful to the gay community, which historically has had to contend with unfair accusations of pedophilia. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 23 Jan. 2020 And if the industry is left unchecked, these critics contend, wine will also be Napa Valley’s undoing. Esther Mobley,, "Vineyards versus vernal pools: On Napa’s Atlas Peak, a neighbors’ dispute turns ugly," 22 Jan. 2020 But some legal experts contend the provision in the War Powers Resolution would survive legal scrutiny despite the court's ruling, citing several differences between the laws. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House approves war powers resolution to restrict Trump on Iran," 10 Jan. 2020 The team is a respectable 8-5 but must contend with the elite company of San Francisco and Seattle, who pace the NFC West with 11 and 10 wins, respectively. Adam Renuart, CNN, "NFL Sunday: Bears-Packers take on 200th game and more as teams face pressure of a playoff push," 15 Dec. 2019 Democrats contend that Trump has engaged in a pattern of misconduct toward Russia dating back to the 2016 election campaign that special counsel Robert Mueller investigated. Mary Clare Jalonick, Twin Cities, "House committee approves 2 Trump impeachment charges, setting up vote in full House," 13 Dec. 2019 Democrats contend that Trump has engaged in a pattern of misconduct toward Russia dating back to the 2016 election campaign that special counsel Robert Mueller investigated. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, Houston Chronicle, "House committee delays historic vote on Trump impeachment," 13 Dec. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for contend

Middle English contenden, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French contendre, going back to Latin contendere "to draw tight, strain, make an effort, strive, compete," from con- con- + tendere "to extend outward, stretch, spread out, aim (at a purpose)" — more at tender entry 3

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Time Traveler for contend

Time Traveler

The first known use of contend was in the 15th century

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Statistics for contend

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for contend


How to pronounce contend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contend

: to argue or state (something) in a strong and definite way
: to compete with someone or for something : to compete with a good chance of winning


con·​tend | \ kən-ˈtend How to pronounce contend (audio) \
contended; contending

Kids Definition of contend

1 : compete contend for a prize
2 : to try hard to deal with He has many problems to contend with.
3 : to argue or state earnestly She contends the test was unfair.

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More from Merriam-Webster on contend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contend

Spanish Central: Translation of contend

Nglish: Translation of contend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contend for Arabic Speakers

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