from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A struggle for superiority or victory between rivals.
  • noun A competition, especially one in which entrants perform separately and are rated by judges.
  • intransitive verb To compete or strive for; struggle to gain or control.
  • intransitive verb To call into question and take an active stand against; dispute or challenge: synonym: oppose.
  • intransitive verb Sports To defend against (a shot), as in basketball.
  • intransitive verb To struggle or compete; contend.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun . Strife; struggle for victory or superiority, or in defense; a struggle in arms.
  • noun . Dispute; debate; controversy; strife in argument; disagreement.
  • noun Synonyms Conflict, Combat, etc. (see battle), encounter. See strife.2. Altercation; dissension; quarrel.
  • To make a subject of emulation, contention, or dispute; enter into a competition for; compete or strive for: as, to contest a prize; to contest an election (see contested).
  • To contend or strive for in arms; fight or do battle for; strive to win or hold; struggle to defend: as, the troops contested every inch of ground.
  • . To argue in opposition to; controvert; litigate; oppose; call in question; challenge; dispute: as, the advocate contested every point; his right to the property was contested in the courts.
  • Synonyms. To debate, challenge.
  • . To strive; contend; dispute: followed by with.
  • . To vie; strive in rivalry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To engage in contention, or emulation; to contend; to strive; to vie; to emulate; -- followed usually by with.
  • transitive verb To make a subject of dispute, contention, litigation, or emulation; to contend for; to call in question; to controvert; to oppose; to dispute.
  • transitive verb To strive earnestly to hold or maintain; to struggle to defend.
  • transitive verb (Law) To make a subject of litigation; to defend, as a suit; to dispute or resist; as a claim, by course of law; to controvert.
  • transitive verb (Polit.) To dispute the declared result of an election.
  • noun Earnest dispute; strife in argument; controversy; debate; altercation.
  • noun Earnest struggle for superiority, victory, defense, etc.; competition; emulation; strife in arms; conflict; combat; encounter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable Controversy; debate.
  • noun uncountable Struggle for superiority; combat.
  • noun countable A competition.
  • verb intransitive To contend.
  • verb transitive To call into question; to oppose.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants
  • noun a struggle between rivals
  • verb to make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from French conteste, from contester, to dispute, from Old French, to call to witness, from Latin contestārī : com-, com- + testis, witness; see trei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Old French contester, from Latin contestor ("to call to witness")


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  • A woman received 2nd Prize for her delicious sponge cake in a baking contest. Turns out that she was the only entrant to the contest, but she wasn't disappointed; once before she was the only entrant in a different baking contest and received 3rd Prize for her fruit cobbler!

    --Heard on NPR

    July 6, 2007

  • "As the West came to look at the Islamic world through the lens of the “clash” of civilizations thesis, seemingly corroborated by terrorist attacks and wars, scholars sharpened their pencils to contest that perception."

    Source: Deprovincializing Philosophy

    January 22, 2018