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 In Green Bay, city officials also took advantage of help from outside consultants who lawmakers contend injected partisanship into the process. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Green Bay residents file complaint over November election as Republicans consider law changes," 8 Apr. 2021 The Ducks have also added two walk-on kickers, Harrison Beattie and Mahlum, who could contend for the punter, kicker and kickoff responsibilities. oregonlive, "Competitions abound across Oregon Ducks' special teams roles," 16 Oct. 2020 As public schools reopened Tuesday in Montgomery, a group of teachers and school workers who contend the system lacks an adequate safety plan held a small protest outside the central office. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Philharmonic pop-up, college cheaters, debating the response: News from around our 50 states," 14 Oct. 2020 The hearing involves multiple cases filed by attorney Thomas DeVore on behalf of clients in six counties who contend that the coronavirus pandemic is not a public health emergency under the definition of Illinois law. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area," 14 Oct. 2020 Supporters of constitutional carry contend the state should eliminate barriers to self-defense. Alex Briseno, Dallas News, "Texas GOP efforts to loosen gun restrictions at odds with Biden’s efforts to tighten them," 26 Mar. 2021 City officials, who contend Boulder is a self-governing entity exempt from the state restrictions, could appeal the ruling. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, "Feinstein revives talks of nationwide ban on semiautomatic weapons after Colorado shootings," 23 Mar. 2021 Two protesters nominated for Louisville's new Police Civilian Review and Accountability Board were questioned by local officials who contend their social media posts indicate a bias against police. Kala Kachmar, The Courier-Journal, "2 protesters nominated for police review board 'grilled' for anti-cop social media posts," 17 Mar. 2021 Lease sales to companies for drilling have been a frequent target of lawsuits from environmentalists who contend officials have ignored the oil and gas program’s climate impact. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden administration promises report by summer on suspension of oil and gas sales on federal lands and waters," 9 Mar. 2021

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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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