con·​tend | \kən-ˈtend \
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

The companies may still have to contend with other states. Rachel Abrams, New York Times, "7 Fast-Food Chains to End ‘No Poach’ Deals That Lock Down Low-Wage Workers," 12 July 2018 Brexit negotiations–a monumental task under the best of circumstances–will now have to contend with the open dysfunction not just of internal E.U. politics but domestic U.K. politics as well. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit Dream’ has Become a Waking Nightmare," 12 July 2018 But like rivals Alibaba Group, Baidu, and Netease, Tencent has to contend with rampant piracy that’s eroding the industry’s profits., "Emissions issues plague Daimler truck engines," 9 July 2018 The dozens of designers that show this week will have to contend with that. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "You Won’t Find America's Menswear Designer of the Year at NYFW Men’s," 9 July 2018 But like perennial rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Netease Inc., Tencent has to contend with the rampant piracy that’s eroding the industry’s profits. Carol Zhong And Bob Van Voris,, "Tencent streaming spinoff to list shares in U.S. amid music industry comeback," 8 July 2018 The industry always had to contend with some form of bootlegging and piracy, resulting in the push for copyright legislation. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Stax Legend Al Bell on Black Music's Living Legacy and Power: 'My Life's Mission Is to Make Sure It Doesn't Die'," 6 July 2018 In more recent cases, on issues ranging from partisan gerrymandering to affirmative action, the Court under his leadership has managed to produce rulings that avoided the most far-reaching claims made by the contending parties. Jeffrey Rosen, WSJ, "What We Learn from Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings," 13 July 2018 Iran denies involvement and contends the allegations against its diplomat are intended to damage its relations with the European Union. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "Pompeo presses Europe to get tough on Iran," 13 July 2018

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, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French contendre, from Latin contendere, from com- + tendere to stretch — more at thin

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Statistics for contend

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contend

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

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More Definitions for contend



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 \
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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Comments on contend

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