con·​tes·​ta·​tion | \ ˌkän-ˌte-ˈstā-shən How to pronounce contestation (audio) \

Definition of contestation

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Did You Know?

If you guessed that contestation is somehow connected to "contest," you're right. They're linked both through meaning and through etymology. Contest can be a verb meaning "to dispute," and contestation essentially means "an act, instance, or state of contesting." Both words can be traced to the Latin verb contestari, meaning "to call to witness." Contestari itself comes from testis, a Latin noun meaning "witness," which is also the source of attest ("to bear witness to"), testify ("to bear witness"), and testimony ("a declaration made by a witness"), among others.

Examples of contestation in a Sentence

the statement is certainly open to contestation among reasonable people
Recent Examples on the Web That contestation led to mass death in places that, for many Americans, might as well be another planet. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Where America Developed a Taste for State Violence," 5 June 2020 Withholding or providing resources to particular groups can harm vulnerable groups or lead to contestations that are socially destabilizing. Nimi Hoffman, Quartz Africa, "The problem with economists using randomized trials in developing countries," 11 Dec. 2019 But taking this route is inevitably a recipe for contestation, protestation and even violent confrontation. Moses Khisa, Quartz Africa, "President Museveni has twisted Uganda’s constitution to cling to power," 21 June 2019 The sum of it is that state security and police agencies have placed squarely at the centre of political contestations. Moses Khisa, Quartz Africa, "President Museveni has twisted Uganda’s constitution to cling to power," 21 June 2019 Many policy issues fall outside the scope of public deliberation and contestation, which leaves parties with few ways to demonstrate responsiveness in the form of policy. Didi Kuo, Vox, "Challenges to parties in the United States and beyond," 20 June 2019 In the era of MAGA, the forehead has become a site of sociocultural contestation. Dan Neil, WSJ, "If You Own a Ferrari, Can You Wear a Ferrari Hat?," 14 Sep. 2018 At the same time, anti-immigrant sentiment has caused growing contestation of their right to be in the city, pushing newcomers to eke out livelihoods in precarious situations. Annette M. Kim, The Atlantic, "Satellite Images Can Harm the Poorest Citizens," 5 June 2018 Finally, South Africa’s Central Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago says the government is stable despite political contestation., "We See 2 Percent Growth This Year, Colombia’s Cardenas Says," 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contestation.' 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 contestation

1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contestation

borrowed from Middle French, "dispute, debate," earlier, "joinder of issue in law," probably borrowed from Old Occitan contestacion, borrowed from Latin contestātiōn-, contestātiō, from Latin (lītem) contestārī "to join issue in a legal suit" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at contest entry 1

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The first known use of contestation was in 1580

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contestation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contestation

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