con·​tend·​er | \ kən-ˈten-dər How to pronounce contender (audio) \

Definition of contender

: one that contends especially : a competitor for a championship or high honor a heavyweight title contender the leading presidential contenders

Examples of contender in a Sentence

There are several contestants, but only two real contenders. This latest defeat means that she's no longer a contender for the world title.
Recent Examples on the Web The result: The opportunity for Democrats to knock off DeSantis, perhaps the biggest star in the post-Trump GOP and a 2024 contender, and Rubio, a past presidential hopeful who still harbors White House aspirations, is off to an uneven start. Steve Contorno, CNN, 19 Dec. 2021 The former vice president isn’t the only potential 2024 contender to make repeated stops in the early voting primary and caucus states. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 6 Dec. 2021 The potential 2024 presidential contender and former South Carolina governor received the Nathan Hale Patriot Award, an honor that comes along with a replica Revolutionary War musket. Meg Kinnard, ajc, 3 Dec. 2021 Double-digit unemployment and a record number of homicides in 2017 made the electorate angry — and open to a disruptive presidential contender. New York Times, 27 Nov. 2021 Harris is seen as a likely successor to President Joe Biden as leader of the party and a future presidential contender, though she's been tasked with overseeing a series of politically difficult initiatives in her current role. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 10 Nov. 2021 Youngkin's political future is already being discussed in broad and personal terms, as Republicans look to his model as on others might emulate and his personal profile as a potential future presidential contender. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 4 Nov. 2021 Indeed, many scholars and pundits cite how Powell — at one point touted as a potential Republican presidential contender — crossed party lines to endorse Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. NBC News, 20 Oct. 2021 The donor enthusiasm is clearly there for Demings, who was thought to be a top vice-presidential contender. Rick Klein, ABC News, 15 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contender.' 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 contender

1547, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contender

contend + -er entry 2

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The first known use of contender was in 1547

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Statistics for contender

Last Updated

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for contender



English Language Learners Definition of contender

: a person who tries to win something in a contest especially : a person who has a good chance of winning


con·​tend·​er | \ kən-ˈten-dər How to pronounce contender (audio) \

Kids Definition of contender

: a person who is in competition with others

More from Merriam-Webster on contender

Nglish: Translation of contender for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contender for Arabic Speakers


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