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[rahy-vuh l] /ˈraɪ vəl/
a person who is competing for the same object or goal as another, or who tries to equal or outdo another; competitor.
a person or thing that is in a position to dispute another's preeminence or superiority:
a stadium without a rival.
Obsolete. a companion in duty.
competing or standing in rivalry:
rival suitors; rival businesses.
verb (used with object), rivaled, rivaling or (especially British) rivalled, rivalling.
to compete with in rivalry: strive to win from, equal, or outdo.
to prove to be a worthy rival of:
He soon rivaled the others in skill.
to equal (something) as if in carrying on a rivalry:
The Hudson rivals any European river in beauty.
verb (used without object), rivaled, rivaling or (especially British) rivalled, rivalling.
to engage in rivalry; compete.
Origin of rival
1570-80; < Latin rīvālis orig., one who uses a stream in common with another, equivalent to rīv(us) stream + -ālis -al1
Related forms
rivalless, adjective
nonrival, noun, adjective
outrival, verb (used with object), outrivaled, outrivaling or (especially British) outrivalled, outrivalling.
unrivaling, adjective
unrivalling, adjective
1. contestant, emulator, antagonist. See opponent. 4. competitive, opposed. 5. oppose. 7. match, emulate.
1. ally. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for outrival
Historical Examples
  • Jamblichus, practices secret arts, to outrival Christian magi, 40.

  • There was no verdure, no flowers, no birds hidden beneath the frondage, and twittering as if to outrival each other.

    The Tiger-Slayer Gustave Aimard
  • In our physical geography we shall read marvelous stories that outrival the romances of Dumas and Hugo.

    The Reconstructed School Francis B. Pearson
  • Lorenzo, in competition with his uncle, determined that the Laurel branch should outrival the Diamond.

  • Other young fellows, that wanted to outrival their companions, had to wait a fortnight for the new medicine to be made.

    Dutch Fairy Tales for Young Folks William Elliot Griffis
  • This surpassingly grand bit of scenery is considered by some people to outrival that pride of all Americans, Niagara Falls.

    South and South Central Africa H. Frances Davidson
  • In short, it is charming, and though things are much better at Rochecotte, there are some here which outrival ours.

  • I can see that you are going to achieve a reputation that will outrival that of your canine compatriot, unless you have a care.

  • If wet roses could outrival a maiden in all her freshness, he thought he would like to see it.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
British Dictionary definitions for outrival


  1. a person, organization, team, etc, that competes with another for the same object or in the same field
  2. (as modifier): rival suitors, a rival company
a person or thing that is considered the equal of another or others: she is without rival in the field of economics
verb (transitive) -vals, -valling, -valled (US) -vals, -valing, -valed
to be the equal or near equal of: an empire that rivalled Rome
to try to equal or surpass; compete with in rivalry
Word Origin
C16: from Latin rīvalis, literally: one who shares the same brook, from rīvus a brook
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 outrival



1570s, from Latin rivalis "a rival, adversary in love; neighbor," originally, "of the same brook," from rivus "brook" (see rivulet). "One who is in pursuit of the same object as another." The sense evolution seems to be based on the competitiveness of neighbors: "one who uses the same stream," or "one on the opposite side of the stream" A secondary sense in Latin and sometimes in English was "associate, companion in duty," from the notion of "one having a common right or privilege with another." As an adjective 1580s from the noun.


c.1600, from rival (n.). Related: Rivaled; rivaling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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