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  1. a struggling together in opposition; strife.
  2. a striving in rivalry; competition; contest.
  3. strife in debate; dispute; controversy.
  4. a point contended for or affirmed in controversy.
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Origin of contention

1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin contentiōn- (stem of contentiō), equivalent to content(us), past participle of contendere to contend (con- con- + tentus, variant of tēnsus; see tense1) + -iōn- -ion
Related formscon·ten·tion·al, adjectivenon·con·ten·tion, nounpre·con·ten·tion, noun

Synonyms for contention

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Antonyms for contention

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for contention

argument, controversy, struggle, rivalry, conflict, dispute, claim, belief, thesis, idea, assertion, plea, hypothesis, allegation, opinion, position, explanation, discussion, discord, dissent

Examples from the Web for contention

Contemporary Examples of contention

Historical Examples of contention

British Dictionary definitions for contention


  1. a struggling between opponents; competition
  2. dispute in an argument (esp in the phrase bone of contention)
  3. a point asserted in argument
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Word Origin for contention

C14: from Latin contentiō exertion, from contendere to contend
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 contention


late 14c., "strife," from Old French contention, from Latin contentionem (nominative contentio), from content-, past participle stem of contendere (see contend).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with contention


see bone of contention.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.