View synonyms for challenge


[ chal-inj ]


  1. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.
  2. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.:

    Space exploration offers a challenge to humankind.

  3. a call to fight, as a battle, a duel, etc.
  4. a demand to explain, justify, etc.:

    a challenge to the treasurer to itemize expenditures.

  5. difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.
  6. Military. the demand of a sentry for identification or a countersign.
  7. Law. a formal objection to the qualifications of a particular juror, to that juror serving, or to the legality of an entire jury. Compare peremptory challenge.
  8. the assertion that a vote is invalid or that a voter is not legally qualified.
  9. Biology. the process of inducing or assessing physiological or immunological activity by exposing an organism to a specific substance.
  10. Hunting. the crying of a hound on finding a scent.

verb (used with object)

, chal·lenged, chal·leng·ing.
  1. to summon to a contest of skill, strength, etc.

    Synonyms: invite, bid, dare

  2. to take exception to; call in question:

    to challenge the wisdom of a procedure.

    Synonyms: doubt, impute, question

  3. to demand as something due or rightful.
  4. Military. to halt and demand identification or countersign from.
  5. Law. to take formal exception to (a juror or jury).
  6. to have a claim to; invite; arouse; stimulate:

    a matter which challenges attention.

  7. to assert that (a vote) is invalid.
  8. to assert that (a voter) is not qualified to vote.
  9. to expose an organism to a specific substance in order to assess its physiological or immunological activity.
  10. Archaic. to lay claim to.

verb (used without object)

, chal·lenged, chal·leng·ing.
  1. to make or issue a challenge.
  2. Hunting. (of hounds) to cry or give tongue on picking up the scent.


  1. donated or given by a private, corporate, or government benefactor on condition that the recipient raise an additional specified amount from the public:

    a challenge grant.


/ ˈtʃælɪndʒ /


  1. to invite or summon (someone to do something, esp to take part in a contest)
  2. also intr to call (something) into question; dispute
  3. to make demands on; stimulate

    the job challenges his ingenuity

  4. to order (a person) to halt and be identified or to give a password
  5. law to make formal objection to (a juror or jury)
  6. to lay claim to (attention, etc)
  7. intr hunting (of a hound) to cry out on first encountering the scent of a quarry
  8. to inject (an experimental animal immunized with a test substance) with disease microorganisms to test for immunity to the disease


  1. a call to engage in a fight, argument, or contest
  2. a questioning of a statement or fact; a demand for justification or explanation
  3. a demanding or stimulating situation, career, object, etc
  4. a demand by a sentry, watchman, etc, for identification or a password
  5. an assertion that a person is not entitled to vote or that a vote is invalid
  6. law a formal objection to a person selected to serve on a jury ( challenge to the polls ) or to the whole body of jurors ( challenge to the array )

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Derived Forms

  • ˈchallengeable, adjective
  • ˈchallenger, noun

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Other Words From

  • challenge·a·ble adjective
  • pre·challenge verb (used with object) prechallenged prechallenging
  • re·challenge verb (used with object) rechallenged rechallenging
  • un·challenge·a·ble adjective
  • un·challenge·a·bly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of challenge1

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English chalenge, from Old French, variant of chalonge, from Latin calumnia “false statement”; calumny

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Word History and Origins

Origin of challenge1

C13: from Old French chalenge, from Latin calumnia calumny

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Example Sentences

The federal government reacted by increasing prison sentences, making it harder to challenge wrongful convictions, enabling police searches and seizures, and enacting strict criminal codes.

From Vox

That concept—of delineating work and home as the two spaces coalesce—is ultimately the challenge of videoconferencing during a pandemic.

It’s unclear if the union will challenge that start date if its criteria aren’t met.

For that reason, the researchers still like the idea of an iron patch, and they describe some research identifying the challenges and working toward solutions.

What we have learned is to work collaboratively like never before, to challenge our thinking, and to accelerate the drug development process.

From Fortune

Harris is unlikely to see a challenge from Villaraigosa, either.

Whatever the FBI says, the truthers will create alternative hypotheses that try to challenge the ‘official story.’

The island faces an environmental challenge of huge proportions.

Less than six hours later, the FARC potentially came good on the challenge.

The government has blocked every opportunity to challenge this case on its merits.

I know that in putting this before you I challenge some of the most popular affectations of cultivated people.

He even fancied that something of challenge flashed from her, though without definite words or gesture.

Hilda impetuously turned her head; their glances met for an instant, in suspicion, challenge, animosity.

The challenge was accepted and the hay-wagon driven round and the trial commenced.

In a flash Isabel had responded with a challenge of appeal, which that accomplished dame was quick to understand.


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