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

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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

To varying degrees of success, that seems to be the playbook the 2020 contenders are following. Philip Elliott / Portsmouth, Time, "2020 Snapshot: New Hampshire, Seven Months Out," 16 July 2019 Adding insult to injury was that while he was being extracted from the tire barriers, his fellow championship contenders — Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and Newgarden — were finishing 1-2-3-4. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar: Penske star Will Power beats himself up after 'really bad mistakes' in Toronto," 14 July 2019 Load management was first utilized by the San Antonio Spurs, an annual contender with an aging core of players, during their run of five NBA titles in the last 20 years. Broderick Turner,, "Anthony Davis and LeBron James present one new concern for Lakers," 14 July 2019 The variety talk category is always competitive, and voters have been known to banish contenders for missteps. Glenn Whipp,, "Emmys 2019: Five things to watch for ahead of nominations next week," 13 July 2019 This sounds more like the Hammers are being used as leverage and not actual contenders for the man who netted 17 times in La Liga last term., "Transfer Rumours: Man Utd Close on Maguire Alternative, Spurs Chase £30m Leeds Midfielder & More," 13 July 2019 Lizzo’s songs feel like instant song-of-the-summer contenders., "Right now Lizzo is everywhere; next week she’ll be at Edgefield," 12 July 2019 Can any contender really hope to hide their two best players on defense and win it all? Ben Golliver,, "Rockets reunite Harden and Westbrook, trading old problems for new ones," 12 July 2019 While several contenders loaded up, the Golden State Warriors took a step back. Parth Upadhyaya, The Denver Post, "NBA summer madness: Ranking the Western Conference after a wild 10 days," 11 July 2019

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

see contend

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Statistics for contender

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contender

The first known use of contender was in 1547

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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

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Comments on contender

What made you want to look up contender? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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