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[noun kon-test; verb kuh n-test] /noun ˈkɒn tɛst; verb kənˈtɛst/
a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize.
struggle for victory or superiority.
strife in argument; dispute; controversy:
Their marriage was marred by perpetual contest.
verb (used with object)
to struggle or fight for, as in battle.
to argue against; dispute:
to contest a controversial question; to contest a will.
to call in question:
They contested his right to speak.
to contend for in rivalry.
verb (used without object)
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 forms
contestable, adjective
contestableness, noun
contestably, adverb
contester, noun
contestingly, adverb
precontest, verb (used with object)
precontest, noun
recontest, verb
subcontest, noun
supercontest, noun
supercontest, verb (used with object)
uncontestable, adjective
uncontestably, adverb
uncontested, adjective
uncontestedly, adverb
well-contested, adjective
Can be confused
contend, contest.
1. contention, rivalry, match, tournament, tourney, game. 2. battle, encounter. See fight. 3. debate, polemic, altercation. 4. See compete. 5. controvert, oppose. 6. challenge. 7. strive, compete, vie. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She did not allow him to finish; she said hastily that she must witness the contest.

    The Blue Wall Richard Washburn Child
  • Down the hill they thundered, over the brook and up to the scene of the contest.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Cleopatra, however, was resolved to join the other side in the contest.

  • And she came out of the contest weakened by each victory over her heart.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Said that sagacious publicist: The truth is, it is a contest for power, not for liberty.

    The Life of Jefferson Davis Frank H. Alfriend
British Dictionary definitions for contest


noun (ˈkɒntɛst)
a formal game or match in which two or more people, teams, etc, compete and attempt to win
a struggle for victory between opposing forces or interests
verb (kənˈtɛst)
(transitive) to try to disprove; call in question
when intr, foll by with or against. to fight, dispute, or contend (with): contest an election
Derived Forms
contestable, adjective
contestableness, contestability, noun
contestably, adverb
contestation, noun
contester, noun
contestingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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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
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