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 Led by five seniors, the Bison have an experienced and deep team capable of contending for the conference championship. Bob Narang,, "Pioneer Press 2019-20 girls basketball preview: Mid-Suburban League," 15 Nov. 2019 My assignment involved contacting a top colorist and asking him to spill his secrets for camouflaging those pesky, silvery wires that other people — older people — had to contend with. Allure, "5 Women With Gray Hair Reveal When They Transitioned to Their Natural Color," 6 Nov. 2019 This might be the time for the Jazz to vault from the fringes of contending to the foreground. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "NBA preview: Parity in the West starts with Rockets new duo," 20 Oct. 2019 Still, the offense failed to produce like a unit capable of contending for a championship. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Swift runs for 2 TDs as No. 10 Georgia tops Kentucky 21-0," 19 Oct. 2019 His joyful dominance is the biggest reason many in the organization are bullish about Golden State’s chances of contending for another title this season. Connor Letourneau,, "Stephen Curry’s 40-point night powers Warriors to preseason win over Minnesota," 10 Oct. 2019 Several neighbors speaking Tuesday night contended the new construction is too close to the downhill slope. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "Poway warehouse construction generates resident complaints," 2 Oct. 2019 Filed in October 2018, Delashaw’s latest appeal in Thurston County Superior Court contended among other arguments that the nurses’ testimony against him was the product of collusion and wasn’t credible. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Judge upholds restrictions on medical license of former Swedish Health neurosurgeon," 1 Oct. 2019 The Oilers are projected to win the league title while Alief Taylor is expected to contend for a playoff spot. Houston Chronicle, "Football: This week’s area high school game previews," 26 Sep. 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

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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strength of mind

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