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

It's been eight seasons of blood, sweat, and tears (speaking for the characters here) as Westeros' contenders have fought their way to the Iron Thrones. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Emilia Clarke and Sophie Turner Penned Emotional Farewells to Game of Thrones," 19 May 2019 So far, 20 Democratic senators have signed the letter, including 2020 presidential contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. Natascha Uhlmann, Teen Vogue, "How Activists Can Fight Back Against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)," 13 May 2019 Meanwhile Vermont’s Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, enjoying his own tour of the midwest, remains a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, thanks in part to voters who don’t seem to realize their taxes were cut. James Freeman, WSJ, "Sanders and Trump in the Midwest," 15 Apr. 2019 Once again courtesy of Reality Steve, Luke Parker is already the top contender, and at that point the show had only shot four episodes. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Wins the Bachelorette and Hannah Brown's Heart? Here's Everything We Know," 8 Apr. 2019 As for other contenders, in a 2005 interview with New York magazine, Marc Jacobs, then creative director of Louis Vuitton and his own collection, went on the record saying that Chanel would be the only other job that interested him. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld's Secret Weapon, Succeeds Him at Chanel," 19 Feb. 2019 As the name of Prince Harry's late mother, Diana is a strong contender if the next royal baby is a girl. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Name Their First Baby?," 8 Apr. 2019 Resident Evil 2 released last week and is already a strong contender for end-of-year lists. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: The sordid tale of Starbreeze's stumbles, Overwatch players learn piano (with guns)," 1 Feb. 2019 Australian Jackson Strong, seven-time X Games medalist, is a top contender in the motor events, as is American Axell Hodges, six-time X Games medalist, adds Reed. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The 2019 Winter X Games Starts This Week—Here’s What You Need to Know," 23 Jan. 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

23 May 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).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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