[kuh n-tes-tuh nt]
See more synonyms for contestant on
  1. a person who takes part in a contest or competition.
  2. a person who contests the results of an election.
  3. Law. the party who, in proceedings in the probate court, contests the validity of a will.

Origin of contestant

From French, dating back to 1655–65; see origin at contest, -ant
Related formsun·con·test·ant, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for contestant


  1. a person who takes part in a contest; competitor
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 contestant

1660s, from French contestant, present participle of contester (see contest (v.)).


"one who contests," from contestant (adj.). Popularized in U.S. Civil War, when it was a journalist's term for the combatants on either side.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper