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[rahy-vuh l] /ˈraɪ vəl/
a person who is competing for the same object or goal as another, or who tries to equal or outdo another; competitor.
a person or thing that is in a position to dispute another's preeminence or superiority:
a stadium without a rival.
Obsolete. a companion in duty.
competing or standing in rivalry:
rival suitors; rival businesses.
verb (used with object), rivaled, rivaling or (especially British) rivalled, rivalling.
to compete with in rivalry: strive to win from, equal, or outdo.
to prove to be a worthy rival of:
He soon rivaled the others in skill.
to equal (something) as if in carrying on a rivalry:
The Hudson rivals any European river in beauty.
verb (used without object), rivaled, rivaling or (especially British) rivalled, rivalling.
to engage in rivalry; compete.
Origin of rival
1570-80; < Latin rīvālis orig., one who uses a stream in common with another, equivalent to rīv(us) stream + -ālis -al1
Related forms
rivalless, adjective
nonrival, noun, adjective
outrival, verb (used with object), outrivaled, outrivaling or (especially British) outrivalled, outrivalling.
unrivaling, adjective
unrivalling, adjective
1. contestant, emulator, antagonist. See opponent. 4. competitive, opposed. 5. oppose. 7. match, emulate.
1. ally. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rivalled
Historical Examples
  • And he laughed with a cackle a demon could not have rivalled.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • For all the grandeur of their names they rivalled one another in incompetency and timidity.

    Bulgaria Frank Fox
  • Their passionate devotion to their faith is only rivalled by their passionate devotion to the Motherland.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • Fox and Burke and Pitt rivalled each other in condemning the system.

  • The success of this play was rivalled by Gogol's comedy, "The Revisor."

  • Even his bark church in the backwoods could not have rivalled Hiltonbury and the brass.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The narrow, shelving beach, rivalled the whiteness of a fresh snow-drift.

    The Island Home Richard Archer
  • The boys also rivalled the Indians in the skill with which they would throw the tomahawk.

    Daniel Boone John S. C. Abbott
  • Kate was dressed in a gown that rivalled the snow itself in whiteness.

    The Young Fur Traders R.M. Ballantyne
  • One or two were rivalled in height by the weeds that choked their windows.

    The Road to Frontenac

    Samuel Merwin
British Dictionary definitions for rivalled


  1. a person, organization, team, etc, that competes with another for the same object or in the same field
  2. (as modifier): rival suitors, a rival company
a person or thing that is considered the equal of another or others: she is without rival in the field of economics
verb (transitive) -vals, -valling, -valled (US) -vals, -valing, -valed
to be the equal or near equal of: an empire that rivalled Rome
to try to equal or surpass; compete with in rivalry
Word Origin
C16: from Latin rīvalis, literally: one who shares the same brook, from rīvus a brook
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 rivalled



1570s, from Latin rivalis "a rival, adversary in love; neighbor," originally, "of the same brook," from rivus "brook" (see rivulet). "One who is in pursuit of the same object as another." The sense evolution seems to be based on the competitiveness of neighbors: "one who uses the same stream," or "one on the opposite side of the stream" A secondary sense in Latin and sometimes in English was "associate, companion in duty," from the notion of "one having a common right or privilege with another." As an adjective 1580s from the noun.



c.1600, from rival (n.). Related: Rivaled; rivaling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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