con·​ten·​tion | \kən-ˈten(t)-shən \

Definition of contention 

1 : 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.

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

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Synonyms for contention


argument, assertion, thesis

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of contention in a Sentence

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 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 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 All quotes from QDB. That has been a source of contention for years. He is in contention for the Olympic medal.
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Recent Examples on the Web

However, whether or not their meet cute at college was their very first meeting is a point of contention. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "One of Kate Middleton’s Earliest Meetings with Prince William Was Really Awkward," 19 Aug. 2018 That wasn't the only point of contention in the match. Mattias Karen,, "Novak Djokovic slams Wimbledon crowd for booing him during win over England's Kyle Edmund," 7 July 2018 Eliminating religious tests was a major source of contention in New England. Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, "Thomas Jefferson and the long history of defending Muslim rights," 26 June 2018 The Cougars had been eliminated from contention in the Midwest League Western Division’s first-half standings well before the three-game series with Wisconsin at Northwestern Medicine Field. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "That winning feeling: Cougars wrap up first half above .500, aim higher in second half," 24 June 2018 The records kept by SDG&E and SoCalGas on Line 1600 were a source of contention in the run-up to the administrative law judge’s proposed decision. Rob Nikolewski,, "Ratepayer group says SDG&E and SoCalGas made false statements about natural gas pipeline," 20 June 2018 Trending Video Your Fave Is Problematic | Teen Vogue Take To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that : 0%: 0% My hair became a major point of contention in my relationship with my mother. Neelanjana Banerjee, Teen Vogue, "Messy, Curly Hair Shaped My Identity as an Indian-American Woman," 5 June 2018 The event became a legal point of contention in town in the fall of 2016 after the Zoning Board of Appeals sided with Bergstrom and against Robert Piccirilli, the building inspector and zoning enforcement officer. Jean Lang,, "Halifax vote clears way for Mudfest," 25 May 2018 New Jersey had already let undocumented students pay in-state tuition, which remains a point of contention in many states. NBC News, "Financial raid: Some states cut off assistance for DACA students, while others rush to help," 20 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for contention

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

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for contention

The first known use of contention was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of contention

: 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


con·​ten·​tion | \kən-ˈten-chən \

Kids Definition of contention

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

2 : anger and disagreement

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

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Comments on contention

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living or existing for a long time

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