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


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

The Lakers have won three of four since being eliminated from playoff contention last week with a loss to Brooklyn, their 10th in 11 games and their 28th in 42 games since Christmas. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "LeBron James to sit out last 6 games of Lakers’ season," 31 Mar. 2019 While the report didn’t recommend any action against them, a White House official said that the report was a factor in eliminating Mr. Braun from contention. Michael C. Bender, WSJ, "Trump’s DEA Chief Vetted Candidates and Then Took the Job Himself, Riling Police Groups," 25 Oct. 2018 Herrera, Hoskins omitted from All-Star roster — but not snubbed Never mind that the Phillies’ swifter-than-expected rise to playoff contention has been among the National League’s best stories so far this season. Scott Lauber,, "Phillies' whole is greater than sum of their parts, as All-Star voting proves | Extra Innings," 9 July 2018 His inexperience showed up on defense and as a decision-maker with the ball, limiting his minutes until late in the season after the Hornets were out of playoff contention. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Hornets' decisive message to Malik Monk: Your shooting’s impressive. Now take this step.," 2 July 2018 Jon Jay, one of the supreme leaders of the Brewer-Killer Club, put the Cubs ahead on a single in the top of the 10th in the home stretch of a season where Milwaukee was heavily in playoff contention. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ranking the 18 walk-off wins for the Brewers against the Chicago Cubs," 11 June 2018 Coach Adam Gase expects a healthy Tannehill to lead a 6-10 to playoff contention. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "What makes this the ultimate defining season for Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill | Miami Herald," 21 May 2018 The fact New England even was in playoff contention down the stretch says something about its locker room. William S. Paxton,, "After Up-And-Down Season, Black Wolves Arrive In Playoffs," 3 May 2018 And of course, that's important to the defense's case because Manafort's whole contention is this is the sort of guy who keeps secrets from people who are very close to him. Fox News, "How Rick Gates' testimony impacts Manafort trial," 8 Aug. 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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Statistics for contention

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for contention

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

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More Definitions for contention



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 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

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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