[noun kon-test; verb kuhn-test]
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  1. a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize.
  2. struggle for victory or superiority.
  3. strife in argument; dispute; controversy: Their marriage was marred by perpetual contest.
verb (used with object)
  1. to struggle or fight for, as in battle.
  2. to argue against; dispute: to contest a controversial question; to contest a will.
  3. to call in question: They contested his right to speak.
  4. to contend for in rivalry.
verb (used without object)
  1. to dispute; contend; compete.

Origin of contest

1595–1605; (v.) < Latin contestāri to call to witness (in a lawsuit), equivalent to con- con- + testārī to testify, derivative of testis witness; (noun) derivative of the v., or < French conteste
Related formscon·test·a·ble, adjectivecon·test·a·ble·ness, nouncon·test·a·bly, adverbcon·test·er, nouncon·test·ing·ly, adverbpre·con·test, verb (used with object)pre·con·test, nounre·con·test, verbsub·con·test, nounsu·per·con·test, nounsu·per·con·test, verb (used with object)un·con·test·a·ble, adjectiveun·con·test·a·bly, adverbun·con·test·ed, adjectiveun·con·test·ed·ly, adverbwell-con·test·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcontend contest

Synonyms for contest

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Synonym study

2. See fight. 4. See compete. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of contest

Historical Examples of contest

British Dictionary definitions for contest


noun (ˈkɒntɛst)
  1. a formal game or match in which two or more people, teams, etc, compete and attempt to win
  2. a struggle for victory between opposing forces or interests
verb (kənˈtɛst)
  1. (tr) to try to disprove; call in question
  2. (when intr, foll by with or against) to fight, dispute, or contend (with)contest an election
Derived Formscontestable, adjectivecontestableness or contestability, nouncontestably, adverbcontestation, nouncontester, nouncontestingly, adverb

Word Origin for contest

C16: from Latin contestārī to introduce a lawsuit, from testis witness
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 contest

c.1600, from French contester "dispute, oppose," from Middle French, from Latin contestari (litem) "to call to witness, bring action," from com- "together" (see com-) + testari "to bear witness," from testis "a witness," (see testament). Calling witnesses as the first step in a legal combat. Related: Contestable; contested; contesting.


1640s, from contest (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper