noun con·ten·tion \kən-ˈten(t)-shən\

Definition of contention

  1. 1 :  an act or instance of contending He has taken himself out of contention for the directorship.

  2. 2 :  a point advanced or maintained in a debate or argument It is his contention that allowing a casino to be built would not be in the best interests of the city.

  3. 3 :  rivalry, competition

Examples of contention in a sentence

  1. Tiger Woods splashed his way into contention in the New Zealand Open … shooting a four under par to close within six strokes of the lead. —New York Times, 13 Jan. 2002

  2. The issues behind the protest are the usual bones of collective-bargaining contention: pay increases, vacation time, union membership. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 17 & 24 June 2002

  3. Science, and academic scholarship in general, the contention these days goes, is too subjective. Some even allege it's entirely subjective, as is, they say, history. —Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996

  4. All quotes from QDB.

  5. That has been a source of contention for years.

  6. He is in contention for the Olympic medal.

Origin and Etymology of contention

Middle English contencioun, from Anglo-French cuntenciun, from Latin contention-, contentio, from contendere

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of contention

discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony. discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism. a political party long racked by discord strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved. during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires. the conflict of freedom and responsibility contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy. several points of contention about the new zoning law dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions. religious dissension threatened to split the colony variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest. cultural variances that work against a national identity

CONTENTION Defined for English Language Learners


noun con·ten·tion \kən-ˈten(t)-shən\

Definition of contention for English Language Learners

  • : something (such as a belief, opinion, or idea) that is argued or stated

  • : anger and disagreement

  • : a situation in which you have a chance to win something that you are trying to win

CONTENTION Defined for Kids


noun con·ten·tion \kən-ˈten-chən\

Definition of contention for Students

  1. 1 :  something that is argued It's my contention that watching television is a waste of time.

  2. 2 :  anger and disagreement

  3. 3 :  a state or situation of having a chance to win She's in contention for the gold medal.

Seen and Heard

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to criticize severely

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