con·​tend kən-ˈtend How to pronounce contend (audio)
contended; contending; contends

intransitive verb

: to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties : struggle
contended with the problems of municipal government
will contend for the championship this year
: to strive in debate : argue

transitive verb

: maintain, assert
contended that he was right
contends that the new law would help only the wealthy
: to struggle for : contest
She contended every point, objected to every request …Margaret Mead

Examples of contend in a Sentence

These people contend that they have earned the right to the land. The team is expected to contend for the championship this year.
Recent Examples on the Web Oklahoma City added defensive stopper Alex Caruso and center Isaiah Hartenstein to an already contending squad. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 7 July 2024 Mead Johnson contends that jury instruction severely undercut their defense. James Hill, ABC News, 7 July 2024 The Justice Department contends industry needs to do more, saying the U.S. can’t prosecute its way out the problem. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 7 July 2024 Neighbors contend that the project would jeopardize safety, as more potential zoo visitors would have to cross Gary to reach the park. Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 5 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for contend 

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

Word History


Middle English contenden, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French contendre, going back to Latin contendere "to draw tight, strain, make an effort, strive, compete," from con- con- + tendere "to extend outward, stretch, spread out, aim (at a purpose)" — more at tender entry 3

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contend was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near contend

Cite this Entry

“Contend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​tend kən-ˈtend How to pronounce contend (audio)
: to try hard to deal with
many problems to contend with
: to argue or state earnestly
contend that my opinion is right
contender noun

More from Merriam-Webster on contend

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