Definition of challenge in English:



  • 1A call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength.

    ‘he accepted the challenge’
    • ‘This time, they had decided, they would accept the challenge.’
    • ‘A promising start for Ilkley in a season that will contain some very stern challenges and some easier contests.’
    • ‘Rosa Parks challenged us to fight for our soul, and we accepted the challenge.’
    • ‘The obsession of kite flying can also be seen in competitive kite challenges.’
    • ‘The Australian champion throws off the challenge of Pirrie, the Canadian youth, and just wins a great race.’
    • ‘And, those in the treasury benches, far from going on the defensive, took up the challenge.’
    • ‘Yet they gamely rose to the challenge, fighting the Tabs to the bitter end.’
    • ‘On this occasion, he mistakenly believed that they would not meet his challenge by fighting.’
    • ‘The dream of gold or silver became a reality when they took up the challenge of a Mayo team with a strong tradition in the sport.’
    • ‘She has to judge the strength of the challenge from the other crews and dictate the response of her own crew.’
    • ‘But after three years of frantic knitting, they decided to end the challenge, despite reaching halfway.’
    • ‘Let us assume for a second that I have decided to take the challenge.’
    • ‘I can still see that mighty frame of his winning crucial challenges in vital championship games.’
    • ‘The Edinburgh side were quick to rise to the challenge and with their superior forward play they denied the Border men any more points in the first half.’
    • ‘Needless to say the Sri Lanka Air Force Cycling Club rode to easy victory in more than 20 races with rarely a challenge.’
    • ‘A diversity of masculine subjectivities is mobilized around and through Spike as he comes to terms with challenges to his power.’
    • ‘Because of this idea of a competitive country, open to the biggest international challenges, I decided to be associated with the creation of A1 Team Portugal.’
    • ‘Ian Fitzgerald returned to competitive action in a challenge against Roscommon last Sunday.’
    • ‘John beat challenges from 399 other contestants to take the title by knocking seven Yorkshire puddings from their perch using a six-ounce black pudding.’
    • ‘The 1993 election saw Prime Minister Keating fight a challenge from the new Liberal Leader Dr John Hewson.’
    dare, provocation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A task or situation that tests someone's abilities.
      ‘the traverse of the ridge is a challenge for experienced climbers’
      ‘he took up the challenge of organizing a sports afternoon’
      • ‘One of peace activists' biggest challenges now may be deciding whether broadening their scope will dilute their public profile.’
      • ‘I decided to take a challenge and registered myself for a spring session offering of introductory Latin.’
      • ‘The main challenges facing agencies are a shortage of trucks and the poor condition of some roads.’
      • ‘One of today's greatest challenges for young people working for change is to fight complacency.’
      • ‘The opthalmologist Robert D' Amato took up the challenge of finding such a drug in the early 1990s.’
      • ‘Hungry for a new challenge, he fought his way through ‘God Save the Queen’.’
      • ‘The wannabes leave their lives behind for two months and undergo tests, missions and challenges that are based on real spy training programmes.’
      • ‘There are only three people in the game at this point who are competitive at the challenges.’
      • ‘He ran the Great North Run last year and took up the challenge of the marathon.’
      • ‘The novice traveler often must undergo tests or challenges, but the experienced holy person is familiar with the road and the terrain and encounters no such problems.’
      • ‘My uncle took up the challenge and bolted out to the rescue.’
      • ‘The smallest gardens can present the biggest design challenges, but a professional designer can work picture-perfect magic.’
      • ‘Good question - though he acknowledges that a seaside property of this one's age offers plenty of challenges in terms of repairs and renovation.’
      • ‘Meeting the pressing security challenges of the 21st century will require new ideas, initiatives, and energy.’
      • ‘Traditional concepts of security were woefully inadequate to meet the new challenges faced by humankind.’
      • ‘Every day, the dozy dozen face a series of challenges and tasks designed to test the sleep-deprived.’
      • ‘Julie gave a presentation on blogging as a social tool and the challenges in deciding what to blog, what to keep private, and what your online self really is.’
      • ‘Pat said he coped with illness by treating it as a challenge, fighting for the one life he has and making the most of it.’
      • ‘Many brave souls took up the challenge, but only two could succeed.’
      • ‘It was his brother, Matthew, an architect, who took up the challenge of linking the tiny stone school buildings and turning them into a home.’
      problem, difficult task, test, trial
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An attempt to win a contest or championship in a sport.
      ‘he is desperate for a third world title challenge’
      • ‘Trojans turned in a competent performance to brush aside a youthful Northallerton side and keep their title challenge on course.’
      • ‘Bellamy's pace and skill refreshed a somewhat ageing Newcastle side - their title challenge faltered when he was injured.’
      • ‘Gomersal took advantage of Idle's week off to continue their challenge for the secondary title.’
      • ‘He is looking to steer his new found sensation into the international fold and a possible challenge for a world title next year.’
      • ‘Will fixture congestion caused by The Champions League weaken their league challenge?’
      • ‘Backup Gus's poor performance showed he wasn't up to the playoff challenge.’
      • ‘It was a nice win and one that we needed if we are to mount a challenge for the play-offs.’
      • ‘This is after all the biggest club in the Second City and yet it's 12 years since the team managed a decent challenge for the title.’
      • ‘Chelsea seemed a solid defensive unit who might grind their way towards a Championship challenge.’
      • ‘Hatton stresses that he is not looking beyond Rios, who has never been stopped and has twice lost in challenges for world lightweight titles.’
      • ‘Last season, Leeds made a realistic challenge for the premiership title, this season they are even better!’
      • ‘Would Truman State withstand a stiff challenge from rival Drury to win a fifth consecutive team title?’
      • ‘He gave him the stiffest challenge for the title, and he was in fact the only player to remain uneaten till the end.’
      • ‘Manchester United have won through November in a manner that should presage a championship challenge.’
      • ‘We need teams like Leeds to make a challenge for the premiership title so we don't see the old same teams winning it year after year’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Montoya learnt that too late to save his championship challenge for 2003.’
      • ‘They do not have the depth in squad required to proceed in Europe, and at the same time mount anything like a serious challenge on the domestic title at home.’
      • ‘They'll come second, but should really be staking a claim for a championship challenge.’
      • ‘Although he continued to box, he was unsuccessful in subsequent world title challenges, including one against Evander Holyfield in 1992.’
      • ‘Heworth, who were champions in 1998, may mount a realistic challenge in a championship race.’
  • 2A call to prove or justify something.

    ‘a challenge to the legality of the banning order’
    • ‘It is the statute which produces the results complained of and there is no challenge to the statute itself.’
    • ‘The experience and knowledge generated proved significant in the longer term for mounting legal challenges to apartheid legislation.’
    • ‘So for those reasons, in our submission, no challenge to our entitlement to compensation has force.’
    • ‘There is no challenge to that conclusion in the respondent's notice.’
    • ‘As Kerry preens as a hero, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's challenge to his medals is not being heard.’
    • ‘It does so for the obvious reason that if there is to be a challenge to the jurisdiction it should be made without delay and before substantial costs are incurred.’
    • ‘Do I correctly understand that there is no challenge to the validity of the Sex Discrimination Act?’
    • ‘I note, as well, there was no challenge to the disbursements which, in my view, were reasonable.’
    • ‘Last week the Victorian Supreme Court rejected a challenge to State legislation known as the Farm Dams Act.’
    • ‘Those issues do arise in Courts of Criminal Appeal, of course, in challenge to the conviction.’
    • ‘If so, an alliance of parliamentary opponents will mount a court challenge on grounds of human rights.’
    • ‘The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to one of those statutes.’
    • ‘But the new human rights era in English law also poses a more fundamental challenge to basic doctrines of tort law and procedure.’
    • ‘The prospect of a legal challenge to the Bluestone planning decision is proving a barrier in the minds of prospective job applicants.’
    • ‘What is the process for any curial challenge to a ruling not to exercise that exculpatory power?’
    • ‘Preliminary rulings are important as a method of indirect challenge to the legality of Community action.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, a challenge to the validity of the derogation would certainly be possible.’
    • ‘If the decision is quashed and does not exist, there is no challenge to an existing decision.’
    • ‘Crane's challenge to the Kansas statute, however, rests on a flawed assumption about the law.’
    • ‘Another matter of challenge to his Honour's sentence is the fixing of the non-parole period.’
    confrontation with, dispute with, stand against, test of, opposition, disagreement with
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A guard's call for a password or other proof of identity.
      ‘I heard the challenge ‘Who goes there?’’
      • ‘Partisan poll workers have been accused of intimidating voters with photographs, heckling, and by challenges to their identity and qualifications.’
      • ‘The challenge must be made at a distance sufficient to prevent your being rushed by the person being challenged.’
      • ‘In order to proceed further, you must answer the sentry's challenge by entering the countersign’
      • ‘Immediately the sentry shouted a challenge to the gunman who responded by raising his weapon to fire at the sentry.’
    2. 2.2Law An objection regarding the eligibility or suitability of a jury member.
      • ‘In mounting such a challenge, an attorney argues that based on a person's answers to the lawyer's or the judge's questions, that person has proved himself incapable of carrying out his responsibilities as a juror.’
      • ‘Members of a jury should be selected at random from the panel, subject to any rule of law as to right of challenge by the defence’
      • ‘Either party may challenge any juror either for cause or peremptorily and each party shall have three peremptory challenges.’
      • ‘The coroner in charge of the inquest is facing a legal challenge to his decision to appoint 12 royal courtiers to the jury’
      • ‘Most of the hearing time was actually occupied by challenges to the jury, as it were, the panel of military officers that are going to hear the case.’
  • 3Medicine
    [mass noun] Exposure of the immune system to pathogenic organisms or antigens.

    ‘recently vaccinated calves should be protected from challenge’
    • ‘Both mediators were elevated in patients with asthma after allergen challenge.’
    • ‘All of them have been reported to induce antibodies in mice and provide full or partial protection from live virus challenge.’
    • ‘Environmental allergens are an important cause of asthma and can be studied in the laboratory by allergen inhalation challenge.’
    • ‘Acute antigen challenge of the airways can lead to rapid edema and appearance of plasma proteins in the airways.’
    • ‘The effect of M. habana vaccination on protection against challenge with M. tuberculosis was evaluated.’


  • 1Dispute the truth or validity of.

    ‘it is possible to challenge the report's assumptions’
    • ‘With his teaching, Jesus challenges this position.’
    • ‘The debate is strikingly one-sided; few civilian or military leaders have publicly challenged the fundamental assumptions of the critics.’
    • ‘Now no member state would openly challenge the legitimacy of the institution's role.’
    • ‘He challenged existing theoretical propositions which he believed were only rationalization of current practices.’
    • ‘For example, moving services from secondary to primary care challenges many deeply held assumptions about the role of specialists.’
    • ‘A similar care order secured on the child of another couple has been successfully challenged in the courts.’
    • ‘In 1989 Maitland challenged the settlement, claiming that only a small salary disparity existed between men and women professors.’
    • ‘By saying she doesn't remember she is tacitly accepting the truth by not challenging it.’
    • ‘They challenge existing theories and accepted musical norms, always striving to keep a step ahead.’
    • ‘He said that either a Newton Hearing, in which the disputed evidence is challenged, or an agreed basis of plea needed to take place before he could proceed with the case.’
    • ‘Both lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of holding immigration hearings in secrecy.’
    • ‘Fast-paced, relevant and worldly, it directly challenges Western notions about the universalizing effects of literature.’
    • ‘Davis supporters had filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of some of the recall signatures.’
    • ‘But his interpretation of the latest figures as solely attributable to his policies was challenged by the opposition and by the Irish Refugee Council.’
    • ‘Morrison completes her trilogy by confronting contemporary race and gender representations and challenging declarations of truth and law.’
    • ‘At least one murder conviction is to be challenged on the basis of "flawed" fingerprint evidence.’
    • ‘Anyway, it appears California's speed camera rules have been successfully challenged in court.’
    • ‘Not until Malthus and Ricardo were Smith's optimistic assumptions seriously challenged.’
    • ‘Many others before you have made the decision to openly challenge the legitimacy of my marriage.’
    • ‘One part is to challenge directly the notion that there is an obligation to carry out a war against disease.’
    question, disagree with, object to, take exception to, confront, dispute, take issue with, protest against, call into question
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law Object to (a jury member)
      ‘a certain number of jurors may be challenged’
      • ‘Since one is not allowed to select jurors, but only to challenge (deselect) them, traditional approaches to jury selection have focused on identification and challenge of undesirable jurors’
      • ‘Defence Counsel may challenge two jury candidates and jurors will be asked if they have any connection with case or defendant.’
      • ‘The parties to any jury trial may inspect a copy of the panel from which the jury in their trial will be chosen, in order to decide whether any should be challenged’
    2. 1.2(of a guard) order (someone) to prove their identity.
      ‘the watchman did not challenge him’
      • ‘They formed a circle around Zero and the guard who had challenged her.’
      • ‘He moved through the civilian sector without attracting attention and when he passed the gate area without being challenged by the guard he knew he was doing alright.’
      • ‘Despite that, he was able to walk straight into the castle's Waterloo Chamber and was only challenged five minutes after entering the party as he ordered champagne at the bar.’
      • ‘It's believe the attacker blew himself up after he was challenged by a security guard as he was trying to enter into the parking lot.’
      • ‘The security guard challenged him outside the building and the youngster gave himself up.’
      • ‘Harkishin was challenged by security guards when he approached the checkout on Sunday.’
      • ‘Sometimes a guard will challenge me and demand to see my pass.’
      • ‘I left the unit twice and walked back in without being challenged either time, entering in ways that didn't require much ingenuity.’
  • 2Invite (someone) to engage in a contest.

    ‘he challenged one of my men to a duel’
    ‘organizations challenged the government in by-elections’
    • ‘Galois was challenged to a duel on 29th May 1832.’
    • ‘During the shooting sessions on their Saturday practice, another Raptor teammate challenged him to a three-point shooting contest.’
    • ‘Gollum challenges him to a riddle contest, and Bilbo wins.’
    • ‘One thing leads to another and the commanding general challenges the soldier to a push-up contest.’
    • ‘The contest challenged children to describe what they do before bed each night to help them get a good night's sleep - and why.’
    • ‘And then he is challenged to a duel by the local thug.’
    • ‘Before she would agree to marry her suitor, she challenged him to several contests and always won.’
    • ‘If anyone ever challenges you to an egg eating contest, don't back down.’
    • ‘After learning a few letters, he then challenges the white boys to a writing contest.’
    • ‘The next day, Sean was challenged to a duel.’
    • ‘With a sneer she finished and straightened up, adopting an air that dared me to challenge her.’
    • ‘Playboy model Kiana Tom challenged him to a front double-biceps contest - Hayden prevailed.’
    • ‘Last week a man saw me lifting by myself and challenged me to a contest.’
    • ‘That'll teach him to challenge me to a food eating contest again.’
    • ‘Convention, as expected, provided just one contest with Clashmore's Timmy O'Keeffe challenging outgoing secretary Seamas Grant.’
    • ‘I want to go around the country challenging people to eating contests!’
    • ‘Colton still stood there holding the sword as if daring any thief to challenge him.’
    • ‘Laodamas encourages him to join the contest and Odysseus asks them why they want to challenge him.’
    • ‘Onion picklers are being challenged to enter their delicacies in a competition run by the Five Bells pub, in Wood Street.’
    • ‘He was kissing her bottom lip and suddenly his tongue was slowly touching hers, daring her, challenging her to duel with him.’
    1. 2.1Enter into competition with or opposition against.
      • ‘Luna could feel a presence around Tiamat that dared people to challenge her.’
      • ‘Evelyn answered, crossing her arms across her chest, as if daring her mother to challenge her.’
      • ‘Mr Hayes has challenged the introduction of competition at the expense of the British Post Office.’
      • ‘As a friend, she asks and presses him to answer the hard questions, directly engaging with one whose thoughts she finds interesting, challenging him to clarify his position.’
      • ‘As a Christian from an Asian background I challenge this position.’
      • ‘Marka's violet eyes glared at him, Simian's light brown ones flashed at her, daring her to challenge him again.’
      • ‘The steely gaze is now fixed on that medal and the message is clear: challenge him if you dare.’
      • ‘He took a step towards me, brown eyes daring me to challenge him.’
      • ‘The Competition Authority does not have the power to challenge state-restricted competition.’
      • ‘He challenged the opposition, which failed to seize the opportunity that had been so long in coming.’
      • ‘No one in the audience bothered, or dared, to challenge him.’
      • ‘Flames licked out, consuming the spiritualists who dared to challenge God.’
      • ‘We glared at each other for a few more seconds, his silver eyes narrowed slightly, daring me to challenge him.’
      • ‘In 1902, Saint-Pierre was also the bastion of a white supremacy whose power was being challenged by a populist opposition.’
      • ‘Deadly with a rifle and lightening fast on the draw with a pistol, few dared challenge him.’
      • ‘So, on the question of a separate issue, I do say there was a separate issue here, the implications of the challenge to the planning system as a whole.’
      • ‘Kids will be kids, and kids, as we know, constantly challenge the status quo.’
      • ‘That move is being challenged by the Federal Opposition.’
      • ‘He challenged calls from the opposition parties for a commission of inquiry to be instituted to probe his wife's appointment.’
      • ‘The group respected him because he was the leader, and none would ever dare to challenge him.’
      contend, vie, fight, battle, clash, tussle, grapple, wrestle, wrangle, jockey, wage war, cross swords, lock horns, go head to head
      rival, keep up with, keep pace with, compare with, be the equal of, match up to, match, be on a par with, be in the same class as, be in the same league as, come near to, come close to, touch, approach, approximate, emulate
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Make a rival claim to or threaten someone's hold on (a position)
      ‘they were challenging his leadership’
      • ‘Pat's are now in a strong position to challenge for league honours.’
      • ‘Since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 Britain's Royal Navy had been the dominant fighting fleet in the world; now Germany was challenging this position.’
      • ‘The impressive and young Nurney team have not lost sight of the fact that they are one win away from getting themselves into a promotion challenging position.’
      • ‘"It will be a change challenging for the title rather than battling relegation".’
      • ‘Right now, are Newcastle any nearer to challenging for the title than Liverpool?’
      • ‘Well, no one was challenging my position so I would keep it until someone was ready to take my place.’
      • ‘By the time he left Cowdenbeath, the club were challenging for promotion.’
      • ‘Brighton boss Micky Adams believes a resurgent York City will be challenging for promotion next season.’
      • ‘He is now nicely poised to challenge for the top spot.’
      • ‘The Bulls were expected to challenge for a playoff spot but instead got blasted early this season.’
      • ‘Once that title was won, no Bonaparte in Pakistan would dare to challenge him for the leadership mantle.’
      • ‘Kelly would be able to challenge for a starting spot at a position of need.’
      • ‘They are challenging for promotion and have a big, experienced squad.’
      • ‘Still, it seems that both teams have the capacity to challenge for honours this season.’
      • ‘Today, as a fellow countryman challenges for the championship lead, he worries that the sport's decision to re-embrace computer aids could put drivers at risk in Monaco.’
      • ‘If all the pieces mesh nicely, they could challenge for the East title.’
      • ‘The latest find suggest the huge pythons might even challenge alligators' leading position in the food chain.’
      • ‘Fan is so far the only candidate and no one has yet emerged from the democratic camp to challenge the position she has held for the past seven years.’
      • ‘On top of that Coulthard started winning races from the front and challenging Hakkinen's position within the team.’
      • ‘A pioneer in liquid crystal displays, Sharp has seen its once-dominant position challenged by Taiwanese and Korean rivals.’
    3. 2.3[with object and infinitive]Invite (someone) to do or say something that one thinks will be difficult or impossible.
      ‘I challenge the Minister to deny these accusations’
      • ‘Some might say he was challenging me to work harder for my own good.’
      • ‘I challenge the Opposition to give us one policy that tells New Zealanders it would change a single thing.’
      • ‘You hear stories that challenge you to think harder about who you are.’
      • ‘We are challenged with a most difficult task, which is to uphold the law,’ he said.’
      • ‘Eckhart really invites us and challenges us to keep learning, perhaps with him, or without him, he probably wouldn't worry if it was without him.’
      • ‘Two friends challenged a third to enter the graveyard in the middle of the night and to hammer a large nail into a well known grave.’
      • ‘‘The difficult thing is challenging yourself to do something that you haven't done before,’ he says.’
      • ‘Later when a diplomatic stewardess refused him alcohol he got really indignant and challenged her to dare insinuate that he was over the limit.’
      • ‘He challenges us to think hard about what is most ancient and contemporary about being Christian.’
      • ‘When BBC Radio Gloucestershire first invited him onto the airwaves they challenged him to teach a novice how to use a computer - live on air and all within three hours!’
      • ‘I had randomly approached him and had a little conversation with him due to a dare Riley had challenged me to.’
      • ‘Holding a contest challenging clients to maintain their weight during the holidays can be extremely effective.’
      • ‘Its hardships and difficulties challenge us to look into our soul so that we can ask how deeply we are willing to trust God.’
      • ‘A total of 226 teams entered the competition, which challenged them to investigate all aspects of the horticultural industry.’
      • ‘And he challenged the opposition to compile a schedule of the expenditure they would propose and of the reductions they oppose.’
      • ‘In the meantime, somebody please convince Better Homes and Gardens Magazine to hold a contest challenging people to build the best robot butler.’
      • ‘He had challenged himself to entering the Beton Tower and exploring it alone.’
      • ‘The boy who had challenged him to the dare, Narayan, came forward and offered him a bowl of rice wine. Dhan touched the chalice to his lips, and handed it back to Narayan.’
      • ‘The defacement competition challenges crackers to deface as many as 6,000 sites in the shortest time possible to win the contest.’
      • ‘They invite you and challenge you to live up to your own thoughts and insights.’
    4. 2.4Make demands on; prove testing to.
      ‘a new way of life that would challenge them’
      • ‘To challenge yourself, do the balance poses on a plush carpet or on a wobble board.’
      • ‘My directorial task is to challenge my company and myself.’
      • ‘No strategy he could come up with would challenge him enough to spark interest.’
      • ‘The rare breeds hatchery business has challenged them, Drowns says.’
      • ‘Communication between defenders becomes more difficult and the concentration level of the defender is challenged.’
      • ‘The facts are that students become disengaged and are not challenged by the curriculum.’
      • ‘The people I see grow old with grace and inspiration are the people who keep challenging themselves.’
      • ‘During the trading year, random events could spring up to challenge your ability to manage the business through such unforeseen situations.’
      • ‘There are so many areas where you can challenge yourself and test your own limits.’
      • ‘In these cases pupils are constantly challenged by the course and make good progress.’
      test, tax, try
      View synonyms
  • 3Medicine
    Expose (the immune system) to pathogenic organisms or antigens.

    • ‘Guinea pigs were challenged with either ovalbumin or saline once weekly, for 12 consecutive weeks.’
    • ‘The animals were not challenged with antigen after sensitization as the aim was to study the biochemical changes due to sensitization alone.’
    • ‘If the immune system was challenged with a large dose of virus or bacteria, then a large population of T cells was generated by the expansion phase.’
    • ‘This suggests that these variables at least remain similarly ranked among individuals, despite the fact that the immune system was challenged by SRBC.’
    • ‘It was first administered intranasally for 30 minutes to 1 hour before being antigenically challenged with ovalbumin.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘accusation’ and ‘accuse’): from Old French chalenge (noun), chalenger (verb), from Latin calumnia calumny, calumniari calumniate.