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

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 As the heat hovering over much of the country continues, residents on the East Coast will soon have another extreme weather event to contend with: severe storms. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 25 July 2022 The Greenmen continued to contend in the Suburban League and made returning to the OHSAA Division III playoffs, but a late-season injury to quarterback Alex Moore hurt those chances. Matt Goul, cleveland, 25 July 2022 The clock is also ticking on a congressional session with loads of other priorities — as well as the midterm elections — to contend with. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 25 July 2022 But Texas’s approach has also received skepticism from groups who contend it’s far too broad. Rachel Roubein And Brittany Shammas, Anchorage Daily News, 24 July 2022 Armstrong, 21, has turned in her two best times in the event at Hayward Field and could suddenly contend for at least a spot in the final in her first world championships. oregonlive, 23 July 2022 The bidding war comes as U.S. airlines contend with historic demand from travelers returning to the skies this summer. Dan Carson, Chron, 20 July 2022 Complicating matters is the fact that big wind and solar projects require significant space — something that can be difficult to come by in Europe, a continent that also has thousands of years of cultural history and artifacts to contend with. New York Times, 19 July 2022 State minimum pay for teachers has become the focus of a battle between Democrats who say the state is at risk of losing teachers because of low pay, and Republicans, who contend that now isn't the appropriate time for the discussion. Teresa Moss, Arkansas Online, 17 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near contend

contemptus mundi



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Statistics for contend

Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for contend


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on contend

Nglish: Translation of contend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contend for Arabic Speakers


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