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 Democrats, however, contend that Hickenlooper surviving the primary shows that voters don’t view him like a standard politician and trust him deeply. Washington Post, "John Hickenlooper wins Colorado’s Democratic Senate primary," 1 July 2020 Democrats contend Republicans soured relations by approving lame-duck laws just before Evers was sworn in limiting his powers. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "There's no record of anyone authorizing secretly recording Wisconsin lawmakers by Gov. Tony Evers' staff," 1 July 2020 Spies and hackers will stop at nothing to exploit any chinks in the armor, cybersecurity experts contend. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "The encryption wars are back on in Congress. Here’s what’s at stake," 29 June 2020 All the shorts contend with the pandemic in one way or another, most focusing on the interior spaces to which we've all been largely confined for months now. Tyler Aquilina,, "Ana Lily Amirpour made a brilliant COVID-19 short for Netflix. It's unlike anything she's ever done," 29 June 2020 Kusel and others contend, however, that the West’s fire-prone ecosystems make biomass utilization fundamentally different. Jane Braxton Little, Wired, "The Debate Over Burning Dead Trees to Create Biomass Energy," 27 June 2020 From the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, experts and media have warned of a mounting mental health crisis as people contend with a pandemic that has upended their lives. Elizabeth Lawrence, Scientific American, "COVID-19 Worsens Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—but Therapy Offers Coping Skills," 18 June 2020 As companies of all sizes contend with making temporary layoffs and furloughs permanent, the number of job openings is also historically low, according to Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter. Danielle Echeverria,, "U.S., California unemployment claims continue to decline, but overall picture still grim," 18 June 2020 The drawdowns killed freshwater mussels and other aquatic organisms, state officials contend. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "State sues Edenville Dam owner Boyce Hydro over Midland flooding," 9 June 2020

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

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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