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

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 formscon·tend·er, nouncon·tend·ing·ly, adverbnon·con·tend·ing, adjectivepre·con·tend, verb (used without object)re·con·tend, verb (used without object)un·con·tend·ed, adjectiveun·con·tend·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcontend contest

Synonyms for contend

Synonym study

2. See compete.

Antonyms for contend

3. agree. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contends

Contemporary Examples of contends

Historical Examples of contends

  • Basilus, to save a young man, contends personally with the Evil One.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • It also contends that "the transactions of the Board ought not to be canvassed in the newspapers."

  • Still he contends that these may be explained on the doctrine of evolution.

  • Yet sometimes the love which I have for them contends with the love which I have for you.

    The Home

    Fredrika Bremer

  • He contends that it is better to be without soap than without society.

    Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    Patrick Braybrooke

British Dictionary definitions for contends



(intr often foll by with) to struggle in rivalry, battle, etc; vie
to argue earnestly; debate
(tr; may take a clause as object) to assert or maintain
Derived Formscontender, nouncontendingly, adverb

Word Origin for contend

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

Word Origin and History for contends



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