[ kuhn-tend ]
See synonyms for: contendcontendedcontendingcontends on

verb (used without object)
  1. to struggle in opposition: to contend with the enemy for control of the port.

  2. to strive in rivalry; compete; vie: to contend for first prize.

  1. to strive in debate; dispute earnestly: to contend against falsehood.

verb (used with object)
  1. to assert or maintain earnestly: He contended that taxes were too high.

Origin of contend

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English contenden, from Anglo-French contendre, from Latin contendere “to compete, strive, draw tight,” equivalent to con- prefix meaning “with, together” + tendere “to stretch”; see con-, tend1

synonym study For contend

2. See compete.

Other words for contend

Opposites for contend

Other words from contend

  • con·tend·er, noun
  • con·tend·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·con·tend·ing, adjective
  • pre·con·tend, verb (used without object)
  • re·con·tend, verb (used without object)
  • un·con·tend·ed, adjective
  • un·con·tend·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with contend

Words Nearby contend Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contend in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contend


/ (kənˈtɛnd) /

  1. (intr often foll by with) to struggle in rivalry, battle, etc; vie

  2. to argue earnestly; debate

  1. (tr; may take a clause as object) to assert or maintain

Origin of contend

C15: from Latin contendere to strive, from com- with + tendere to stretch, aim

Derived forms of contend

  • contender, noun
  • contendingly, adverb

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