contention

noun
con·​ten·​tion | \ kən-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce contention (audio) \

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

Synonyms

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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 Sanders backers have continued to support their candidate aggressively this cycle, sometimes to the chagrin of the socialist, who dropped out of White House contention in April. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Bernie Sanders delegates asked to sign pledge agreeing to play nice at Democratic convention," 21 May 2020 The dispute proceeded through Nolte’s contention that Adolf Hitler had acted in response to Josef Stalin’s prior atrocities, as if two wrongs could make a right. Samuel Moyn, The New York Review of Books, "The Trouble with Comparisons," 19 May 2020 Much of this contention is the result of the various loaded meanings bestowed on breasts throughout history. Rosalind Jana, refinery29.com, "The Nipple’s Place In Fashion History," 14 May 2020 Kansas child services officials disagree with Keffer's contention. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Debt collectors are going after Americans' stimulus checks—and the CARES Act allows it," 16 Apr. 2020 The plaintiff’s allegations echo prosecutors’ contentions that Walmart was flouting evidence requests during the federal investigation. Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, "Walmart Hid That It Was Under Criminal Investigation for Its Opioid Sales, Lawyers Say," 13 Apr. 2020 Unhoused people are subjected to harassment and displacement, and homeless encampments across the state are a source of major controversy and contention. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for March 13: Coronavirus, Iraq, election, homelessness, USWNT," 13 Mar. 2020 Sampson said after a 64-57 win over Memphis kept the Cougars in title contention. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "UH clinches share of conference title," 8 Mar. 2020 Lawlis ventures other arguable contentions as well. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Meet the Controversial Doctor Behind the Dr. Phil Empire," 27 Feb. 2020

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 "dissension, dispute," borrowed from Anglo-French cuntençun, contencion, borrowed from Latin contentiōn-, contentiō "exertion, competition, conflict," from conten-, variant stem of contendere "to strain, make an effort, strive, compete" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at contend

Note: Regarding the variant -ten- with deverbal suffixes beginning in -t- (so contentiō rather than *contensiō), see the note at tender entry 3.

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Time Traveler for contention

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for contention

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contention.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contention. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for contention

contention

noun
How to pronounce contention (audio)

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

contention

noun
con·​ten·​tion | \ kən-ˈten-chən How to pronounce contention (audio) \

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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