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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh n-tend] /kənˈtɛnd/
verb (used without object)
to struggle in opposition:
to contend with the enemy for control of the port.
to strive in rivalry; compete; vie:
to contend for first prize.
to strive in debate; dispute earnestly:
to contend against falsehood.
verb (used with object)
to assert or maintain earnestly:
He contended that taxes were too high.
Origin of contend
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English contenden < Anglo-French contendre < Latin contendere to compete, strive, draw tight, equivalent to con- con- + tendere to stretch; see tend1
Related forms
contender, noun
contendingly, adverb
noncontending, adjective
precontend, verb (used without object)
recontend, verb (used without object)
uncontended, adjective
uncontending, adjective
Can be confused
contend, contest.
1. wrestle, grapple, battle, fight. 3. argue, wrangle. 4. hold, claim.
3. agree.
Synonym Study
2. See compete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contend
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thus, in the last war, you had to contend with the whole city; but now with only a small portion.

  • I'd be the last to contend that an upper class is necessarily parasitic.

    Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Unable to contend with them alone, he formed a partnership with Heidegger, proprietor of the King's Theatre, in 1729.

    The Standard Oratorios George P. Upton
  • The first difficulty which we had to contend with was the finding of this American's antecedents.

    A Study In Scarlet Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It is against this fatal tendency to vile play that we have chiefly to contend.

British Dictionary definitions for contend


(intransitive) often foll by with. to struggle in rivalry, battle, etc; vie
to argue earnestly; debate
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to assert or maintain
Derived Forms
contender, noun
contendingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin contendere to strive, from com- with + tendere to stretch, aim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contend

mid-15c., from Old French contendre, from Latin contendere "to stretch out, strive after," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Related: Contended; contending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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