[ kuhm-pet-i-tiv ]
/ kəmˈpɛt ɪ tɪv /
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of, pertaining to, involving, or decided by competition: competitive sports; a competitive examination.
well suited for competition; having a feature that makes for successful competition: a competitive price.
having a strong desire to compete or to succeed.
useful to a competitor; giving a competitor an advantage: He was careful not to divulge competitive information about his invention.
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Origin of competitive

1820–30; <Latin competīt(us) (past participle of competere;see competition) + -ive

OTHER WORDS FROM competitive

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does competitive mean?

Competitive is most commonly used to describe a person who has a strong desire to compete and win.

Competitive is commonly associated with sports, but it is used in many different contexts that involve competition. It is commonly used to describe someone or something that is able to succeed against or stay even with others in the same contest or setting, as in Our new product will help us stay competitive in this market.

Example: Most pro athletes are competitive by nature and always want to win no matter what they’re playing—even if it’s something as simple as a game of cards.

Where does competitive come from?

The first records of competitive come from the 1820s. It derives from the Latin verb competere, meaning “to meet, come together.”

Competition often involves two or more individuals or teams coming together in some kind of contest. Being competitive in this context can mean a few different things. Most often, it means someone really wants to win—in a particular competition or in general. Elite athletes are often described as ultra-competitive, meaning they have a strong drive to win. If you warn a new player in your weekly poker game that it can get pretty competitive, you mean that the players aren’t just playing for fun—they’re playing to win. In this way, competitiveness is often associated with aggressiveness.

Competitive can also refer to having what it takes to compete in a particular setting, as in We’re giving students the tools that they’ll need in order to stay competitive in the workplace of the future. The word is used similarly in the context of business, especially to describe a product that has a price or level of quality that will make it appealing compared to other similar products.

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What are some other forms related to competitive?

What are some synonyms for competitive?

What are some words that share a root or word element with competitive

What are some words that often get used in discussing competitive?


How is competitive used in real life?

Competitive is often used to describe people who always want to win. It is especially used in the context of sports and other situations that involve competition, such as business.


Try using competitive!

Which of the following words is least likely to describe someone who is competitive?

A. ambitious
B. aggressive
C. ruthless
D. passive

How to use competitive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for competitive

/ (kəmˈpɛtɪtɪv) /

involving or determined by rivalrycompetitive sports
sufficiently low in price or high in quality to be successful against commercial rivals
relating to or characterized by an urge to competea competitive personality

Derived forms of competitive

competitively, adverbcompetitiveness, noun
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