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

This has been a point of contention for some governments that have called for turning back migrants to their areas of origin. Megan Specia, New York Times, "U.N. Agrees on Migration Pact, but U.S. Is Conspicuously Absent," 13 July 2018 Small, 52, is now in contention for a major championship. Steve Reaven,, "No Small feat: Illinois men's golf coach contending at Senior Players at Exmoor," 13 July 2018 Forwards who are in contention for the Golden Boot as top scorer try to pad their numbers. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "No one cares about the pointless World Cup bronze playoff. So FIFA should scrap it," 12 July 2018 Over the next three weeks, teams that are out of contention for playoff spots will be looking toward the future. Scooby Axson,, "MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees Make 'Strong' Offer For Manny Machado," 12 July 2018 But around the state, candidates like Sawyer remain in contention for a range of local positions, including seats in the state Legislature and on the State Board of Education. David Yaffe-bellany, star-telegram, "As Trump backlash continues, STEM professionals in Texas run for office," 12 July 2018 The millions of dollars sent to the church in a charitable spirit became a source of contention for a community that was already suffering tremendous loss. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "Sutherland Springs receives millions in donations to massacre relief fund," 8 July 2018 Almirola got back on the lead lap, but another instance with a loose wheel put him out of contention for good. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, "Contact sport: Kyle Busch survives bumping battle with Kyle Larson to end Chicagoland drought," 1 July 2018 Sophomore Ambry Thomas made as big a jump as any defender in spring practice and could be in contention for nickel reps this season. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's Lavert Hill, David Long anchor talented secondary," 30 June 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

16 Sep 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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an open space surrounded by woods

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