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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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

The two properties have been a point of contention for quite some time. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "City gives Ilitches more time to fix blighted Cass Avenue buildings," 25 June 2018 Morocco lost 1-0 for the second straight Group B match and is out of contention for a spot in the next round. Graham Dunbar, Houston Chronicle, "Ronaldo becomes Europe's top international scorer after leading Portugal over Morocco," 20 June 2018 Driver earnings and work conditions have long been a point of contention for ride-hailing companies, with a growing chorus of drivers expressing dissatisfaction with declining pay and a lack of control over their fares. Tracey Lien,, "Most Uber and Lyft drivers in L.A. work full time and still struggle to make ends meet, study says," 30 May 2018 The territory, which is located within Azerbaijan's borders but has an ethnically Armenian majority, is heavily disputed and has been a point of contention for decades between the two countries, as previously reported by Traveler's Sebastian Modak. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Recap: Anthony Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' Visits Armenia," 21 May 2018 But the loser of the Spencer-Reeves and Loyola-Yale game could be eliminated from contention for the Tewaaraton. Edward Lee,, "Q&A with Big Ten Network/ESPN men’s lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon," 14 May 2018 Day is trying to forget his quadruple bogey on the 72nd hole that took him out of contention for the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. David Scott, charlotteobserver, "Tiger, Phil, Rickie and Rory: Here’s when they’ll tee off Thursday | Charlotte Observer," 2 May 2018 Initially, a main point of contention for students was the immediate resignation of President Wayne A.I. Frederick and his board of trustees. Angela Helm, The Root, "Howard Students End Protest, Win Concessions From University," 7 Apr. 2018 Tillerson vocally advocated both for staying in the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran nuclear pact, which were both points of contention for Trump and others in the White House., "Rex Tillerson Found Out He Was Fired From A Tweet," 13 Mar. 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

28 Oct 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

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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