rival

noun
ri·​val | \ ˈrī-vəl How to pronounce rival (audio) \

Definition of rival

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess
b : one striving for competitive advantage
2 obsolete : companion, associate
3 : equal, peer

rival

adjective

Definition of rival (Entry 2 of 3)

: having the same pretensions or claims : competing

rival

verb
rivaled or rivalled; rivaling or rivalling\ ˈrīv-​(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce rival (audio) \

Definition of rival (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to act as a rival : compete

transitive verb

1 : to be in competition with
2 : to strive to equal or excel : emulate
3 : to possess qualities or aptitudes that approach or equal (those of another)

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On Rivals, Rivaling, and Rivalry

Noun

The word rival most commonly refers to a person or group that tries to defeat or be more successful than another person or group, which means that rivals tend to come in pairs. Candidates running for the same political office are political rivals, and two people trying to earn the exclusive affection of a third are romantic rivals. Teams, schools, or companies might be longtime rivals if they try over many years to outdo each other.

Rival can also mean “equal” or “peer.” When the word is used in this way it's usually conveying how good or impressive something or someone is. For example, "a country musician the rival of any in the world" is as good as the best country musicians in the world. Often a negating word is added to assert superiority, as in "a country musician without rival."

As a verb, rival typically has a meaning that relates to this latter sense of the noun. The verb is most often used to say that someone or something possesses qualities or aptitudes that approach or equal those of another. For example, for one country musician to be rivaling another, the first country musician must be as good as or nearly as good as the other musician. (Note that in U.S. English, the verb's forms are usually spelled rivaled and rivaling; in British English rivalled and rivalling are preferred.)

The noun rivalry has to do with the state or situation in which rivals (usually in the “competitor” sense) exist, or in which rivaling happens. In politics we have political rivalries, and in matters of the heart there are romantic rivalries. Sibling rivalry exists when there is competition or jealousy between sisters or brothers.

Examples of rival in a Sentence

Noun The teams have been longtime rivals. The men are romantic rivals for her affection. Verb The company manufactures paper that rivals the world's best. The new museum will rival the largest in the world.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Westford Academy varsity and junior varsity dedicated their games last Thursday against Dual County League rival Concord-Carlisle to mental health awareness. BostonGlobe.com, 7 June 2021 On July 5, the richest man in the world will step down as Amazon CEO to focus more of his energy on his two other major properties: The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a rocket company and SpaceX rival. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 7 June 2021 So the physicality of the Class 3A regional championship game against North Suburban Conference rival Lake Forest didn’t bother the junior forward. Nick Frazier, chicagotribune.com, 5 June 2021 Pitino returned to college in 2001 at Louisville — his former school's biggest rival. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 4 June 2021 As in 2018, his party’s chief rival is the leftist senator Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogotá who had been a member of another guerrilla group, the M-19, in the late seventies and eighties. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 4 June 2021 After splitting a four-game set with Tampa Bay, the slumping Yankees welcome another AL East rival to the Bronx when the Boston Red Sox visit for the first game this season between the teams. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 4 June 2021 Miami’s next game after the break will be a road matchup against D.C. United on June 19, with its next home game coming on June 25 versus in-state rival Orlando City. Khobi Price, sun-sentinel.com, 2 June 2021 Geopolitical rival China is to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics just six months after Tokyo ends, and could claim centerstage should Tokyo fail. Stephen Wade, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But the rise of cloud computing and rival data analytics services from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft proved difficult for Cloudera to compete against. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 1 June 2021 When China’s civil war ended in victory for the Chinese Communist Party, which declared the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, rival Nationalist forces retreated to Taiwan, just off the mainland. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, 24 May 2021 Medical supplies, fuel and water are running low in Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Fox News, 19 May 2021 Medical supplies, fuel and water are running low in Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2021 Gaza’s health care system, already gutted by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed in 2007 after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces, had been struggling with a surge in coronavirus infections even before the latest conflict. Time, 17 May 2021 Gaza’s health care system, already gutted by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007, had been struggling with a surge in coronavirus infections even before the latest conflict. Fares Akram And Joseph Krauss, chicagotribune.com, 16 May 2021 Hamas, which gained a majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections and took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after battling rival Palestinian forces, began firing a barrage of rockets toward Israeli territory on Monday evening. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 14 May 2021 Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven militants, while Hamas, the Islamic militant group that seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007, acknowledged that a top commander and several other members were killed. Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, 13 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Manhattan chapter of the Working Families Party recommended that Ms. Orlins get the state party’s endorsement, which ultimately went to rival Tahanie Aboushi. Deanna Paul, WSJ, 9 June 2021 The Sun Devils were runner-up there to rival Arizona, which failed to advance. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 27 May 2021 The instant access to content made Netflix streaming so popular and that’s why everyone else in the business launched their own streaming services to rival Netflix. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 May 2021 The resulting company would be positioned as a major force in streaming, to rival companies like Disney and Netflix. Mark Joyella, Forbes, 17 May 2021 From no-brainer leggings shoppers can’t stop raving about to affordable pieces reviewers say rival those of more expensive brands, there’s no doubt Amazon should be on your radar for affordable activewear. Dale Arden Chong, Glamour, 5 Apr. 2021 Austin would go on to rival Hulk Hogan as the biggest star wrestling had ever seen, helping deliver WWE a win in its Monday Night Wars with WCW. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 16 Mar. 2021 Michigan won the Big Ten regular-season title before falling to rival Ohio State in the conference tournament semifinals. Tyler J. Davis, Detroit Free Press, 15 Mar. 2021 Hulu also offers the ability to add on a live TV service with dozens of channels and the ability to record shows to a cloud DVR, plus options to subscribe to rival premium services. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 4 Mar. 2021

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

Noun

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1592, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1607, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for rival

Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin rivalis one using the same stream as another, rival in love, from rivalis of a stream, from rivus stream — more at run

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rival.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rival. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for rival

rival

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rival

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that tries to defeat or be more successful than another
: something or someone that is as good or almost as good as another person or thing

rival

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rival (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be as good or almost as good as (someone or something)

rival

noun
ri·​val | \ ˈrī-vəl How to pronounce rival (audio) \

Kids Definition of rival

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: someone or something that tries to defeat or be more successful than another

rival

adjective

Kids Definition of rival (Entry 2 of 3)

: being equally good rival claims

rival

verb
rivaled or rivalled; rivaling or rivalling

Kids Definition of rival (Entry 3 of 3)

: to be as good as or almost as good as Her skills rival those of the champion.

More from Merriam-Webster on rival

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rival

Nglish: Translation of rival for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rival for Arabic Speakers

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