Definition of contend in English:



  • 1[no object] Struggle to surmount (a difficulty)

    ‘she had to contend with his uncertain temper’
    • ‘Otherwise, you can spend much of your precious vacation time contending with the difficulties mentioned above.’
    • ‘And I fear that this result will set in motion dangerous dynamics that even the relatively young among us will be wrestling with and contending with for the rest of our lives.’
    • ‘She pits her steely determination against obstacles along the way, while contending with her rebellious son and a dashing love interest she dares not pursue, lest she falter in her mission.’
    • ‘If ever a man had difficulties of character and temperament to contend with, it was Gilbert.’
    • ‘The Irish industry is currently contending with variability and scarcity of supplies, partly due to catch restrictions and pressure on fish stocks along with a somewhat fragmented industry structure.’
    • ‘Margaret contends with the debilitating disease that has ended their lives as dancers.’
    • ‘‘Busking is the truest form of performing art, contending with the elements, the audiences, the atmosphere and the unexpected,’ she said.’
    • ‘Being an outdoor attraction, there is the peril of contending with the infamous British weather, but there are aspects which can be controlled to boost visitor numbers.’
    • ‘In England, forever contending with faded glories, there is a near-unconscious belief that a sporting contest might yet bring compensation for every variety of loss and national decline.’
    • ‘By resorting to understatement, concrete and physical language, a poet contends against abstraction, generalization, hyperbole and the heroic language of hot-headed generals and bogus lovers alike.’
    • ‘The salmon industry is also contending with the permanent problem of sea lice in fish farms, and a collapsing stock of wild fish.’
    • ‘Not only are they contending with the sudden drop in temperatures, one was shot with an arrow and one lost its home.’
    • ‘Instead of contending with a gruelling journey to work, the 31-year-old borough resident now enjoys hopping on her bike to do a job she finds worthwhile.’
    • ‘To develop human resources with a view to contending with global competition, he adds, ‘the concept of operation must be developed - from workshop to factory’.’
    • ‘Both had to contend with the disadvantage of their sex but they dealt with it in very different ways.’
    • ‘The travelling public is inconvenienced enough by using public transport without contending with strikes.’
    • ‘Along with dangerous health struggles, Luna finds herself contending with the legacy of shame and secrecy that surround issues of sexuality in the Latino community.’
    • ‘The journey home was even more eventful with storms blocking the train lines and squash players contending with five different train journeys and a bus.’
    • ‘If the insurgency is trying to overthrow this regime, it is contending with a formidable obstacle that successful rebels of the 20th century generally did not face: A democratically elected government.’
    • ‘However, unlawful behavior contends with social responsibility from an international perspective.’
    cope with, face, grapple with, deal with, take on, pit oneself against
    resist, withstand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Compete with others in a struggle to achieve (something)
      ‘factions within the government were contending for the succession to the presidency’
      • ‘Beijing is contending for the leadership of the twenty-first century.’
      • ‘They provided me with the best opportunity to be a competitive racer, and I never would have contended for the championship without them.’
      • ‘The press shows no discernible interest in these matters, but it amounts to nothing less than our government actively contending for the inevitable torture or death of a human being.’
      • ‘Thus of the hundreds who entered, those 22 who got four right were left to contend for the grand prizes.’
      • ‘Surely if there were awards for wasting money this council would be contending for honours.’
      • ‘I think the test could only be met by express words in the later statute, or by words so specific that the inference of an actual determination to effect the result contended for was irresistible.’
      • ‘I guess this all goes back to the idea of the artists' dole helping up-and-comers build a base to contend for more serious arts funding.’
      • ‘There are at least three schools of thought contending for primacy in this debate.’
      • ‘Also don't forget, the two best runners up go straight through without the inconvenience of the play offs, and Ireland are building nicely towards contending for one of those spots.’
      • ‘Also contending for the Cup was the Moldovan with a Bulgarian passport, who was declared the most technical boxer of the tournament.’
      • ‘Neither of the political parties contending for office at the forthcoming election has made the changes in thinking that are necessary for Aboriginal people to turn around our social disaster.’
      • ‘A different celebrity might present merits of each of the 16 or so rival schemes which would contend for the prize.’
      • ‘She plans to continue competing in pageants and hopes to contend for Miss Virginia again.’
      • ‘The government's move to create districts exclusively for women contending for parliamentary seats has revivified rows in the political arena.’
      • ‘More than once he contended for the Championship.’
      • ‘A country which is a parliamentary democracy has a general election in which two main parties contend for government.’
      • ‘Another four Bulgarian wrestlers contended for the bronze medals, but all lost and slotted into fourth place.’
      • ‘Upon reflection, we think that the judicial appointees are the real prize being contended for.’
      • ‘Also Sunday, Canada's top track star proved she's ready to contend for a medal in the 100-metre hurdles.’
      • ‘They are a mediocre team in a mediocre division contending for a divisional championship.’
      compete, challenge, vie, contest
      View synonyms
  • 2[with clause] Assert something as a position in an argument.

    ‘he contends that the judge was wrong’
    • ‘He contends that the judge was wrong to have dismissed his claims in negligence, agency and trust.’
    • ‘Mr Katkowski has contended that the deputy judge's decision was right, and for the right reasons.’
    • ‘Mr West contends that the judge was wrong to find on the facts that this test was satisfied.’
    • ‘As for his constituency neglect rebuke, Francis contends that his claims still stand.’
    • ‘The legend contends that Valentine served as a priest during third century Rome.’
    • ‘Vogts contends that there is proof of his point in the match video.’
    • ‘Mr Rhys contended that the judge's construction of the grant was wrong.’
    • ‘Ealing however contend that this simply reflects the position under the old statutory instrument.’
    • ‘He wants to contend that because that was again an argument not put to the Court of Appeal or to the judge.’
    • ‘He contends that larger crowds don't participate in an event in the same way that a smaller crowd might.’
    • ‘However, he contends that the position in so far as his client is concerned is straightforward.’
    • ‘He contends that in the past, his department has not had to worry about hazards caused by dry weather.’
    • ‘Evans contended that this claim is another manipulation of the historical record.’
    • ‘But he contends that ability to craft openings flows more easily from relaxed players.’
    • ‘In their grounds of appeal the appellants contend that the trial judge was wrong to rule as he did.’
    • ‘The minister contended that everybody would be left in a better position as a result of his first Budget.’
    • ‘This theory contends that a major influence on a state's behaviour is the fact that it has to look to its survival in a state of anarchy.’
    • ‘He contends that the officer is completely ignorant about the basic elements of the act.’
    • ‘He contends that the arguments for having a university in the town centre are false because there isn't room.’
    assert, maintain, hold, claim, argue, profess, affirm, aver, avow, insist, state, declare, pronounce, allege, plead
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘compete for (something)’): from Old French contendre or Latin contendere, from con- with + tendere stretch, strive.