1 of 2


contested; contesting; contests

intransitive verb

: strive, vie
contested for power

transitive verb

: to make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation
especially : dispute, challenge
The deceased's relatives are contesting his will.
contestable adjective
contester noun


2 of 2


con·​test ˈkän-ˌtest How to pronounce contest (audio)
: a struggle for superiority or victory : competition
a football contest between rival teams
: a competition in which each contestant performs without direct contact with or interference from competitors
He won the contest for best photograph.

Examples of contest in a Sentence

Verb She plans to contest a seat in Congress next year. Both candidates have agreed to another debate before this hotly contested election. Noun Contest winners receive a cash prize. Will you enter the contest? She hopes to win the contest for mayor. Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a contest for control of the House of Representatives.
Recent Examples on the Web
Animal protection groups, however, have long contested the financial benefits for communities and conservation. Kate Brady, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 Credit for the origins of the BL genre is contested between Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Apr. 2024 In Milwaukee, there are also contested races for comptroller — the city's chief financial officer — and eight Common Council seats. Journal Sentinel, 2 Apr. 2024 The case contests decisions by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug mifepristone available by mail and via telemedicine. Noah Feldman, The Mercury News, 30 Mar. 2024 Impella heart pumps were first cleared for use in 2008, and their use was contested among cardiologists even before the recent spate of problematic reports. Christina Jewett, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2024 The average age of Spalletti’s 28-man squad for the US was 25, compared with 27.3 at Euro 2020, and just five players have contested more than 30 international games. David Ferrini, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Not to contest the general point that government workers are more highly compensated, but rather to assert that CTUP’s 40 percent number is too high. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 27 Mar. 2024 The arrest comes just weeks ahead of India’s general election, which AAP will contest as a partner in an alliance formed by 26 opposition political parties. Sania Farooqui, CNN, 21 Mar. 2024
First dunk at the State Farm College Slam Dunk contest by Arizona’s Keshad Johnson gets 52 points. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024 The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers also offer a contest for a chance for one diner to win two complimentary tickets to each dinner of the series. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 4 Apr. 2024 In their first contest, Jackson had tallied the most votes, but four candidates split the electoral college. TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 The tour moved to the Central Valley for a three-game stretch, including a night game in Stockton and a morning contest in Marysville. Joe Davidson, Sacramento Bee, 4 Apr. 2024 The Rangers went on to win 4-3 after Chris Kreider scored a power play goal late on in the fiery contest. Jacob Lev, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 The activist investor Nelson Peltz and Ike Perlmutter, the former chairman of Marvel Entertainment, have failed to infiltrate Disney’s board for the second time in two years, losing a tensely fought contest for support of the company’s shareholders as part of a campaign to alter its direction. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 But of those, roughly 1.7 million blew off the presidential contests — 22% of the voters. George Skelton, The Mercury News, 3 Apr. 2024 Despite prevailing in the proxy contest, Disney must reckon with simmering discontent among its shareholder base. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contest.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French contester "to debate, make the subject of dispute," earlier "to refuse to recognize a right or claim," probably borrowed from Old Occitan contestar, borrowed from Latin contestārī "to call to witness," in the phrase lītem contestārī (with līt-, līs "dispute at law") "to join issue in a legal suit," from con- con- + -testārī, verbal derivative of testis "witness" — more at testament


derivative of contest entry 1

First Known Use


1603, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contest was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near contest

Cite this Entry

“Contest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to make (something) a cause of dispute or fighting
contest a claim


2 of 2 noun
con·​test ˈkän-ˌtest How to pronounce contest (audio)
: a struggle for victory : competition

Legal Definition


1 of 2 transitive verb
con·​test kən-ˈtest How to pronounce contest (audio)
: to dispute or challenge through legal procedures
contest a will


2 of 2 noun
con·​test ˈkän-ˌtest How to pronounce contest (audio)
: a challenge brought through formal or legal procedures
boundary controversies or other contests between statesFelix Frankfurter
specifically : will contest see also no contest clause

More from Merriam-Webster on contest

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