Definition of rival in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrīvəl/


1A person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity: he has no serious rival for the job [as modifier]: gun battles between rival gangs
More example sentences
  • But now I really do need their help in one very big gang battle between our rival and two other gangs.
  • Meanwhile, rivals are storming the field, assuring that competition remains cutthroat.
  • In my view, ATM operators are highly vulnerable to competition from rivals.
opponent, challenger, competitor, contender;
adversary, antagonist, enemy
informal frenemy
literary foe
1.1 [with negative] A person or thing that equals another in quality: she has no rivals as a female rock singer
More example sentences
  • The men's series has no rival for styling, craftsmanship and sensuous touch.
  • In terms of nightlife, São Paulo has no rivals - not London, not New York, not Ibiza in August.
equal, match, peer, equivalent, counterpart, like

verb (rivals, rivaling, rivaled ; British rivals, rivalling, rivalled)

[with object]
Compete for superiority with; be or seem to be equal or comparable to: the efficiency of the Bavarians rivals that of the Viennese
More example sentences
  • His black shoes had been polished so that they rivaled my golden gown when shine was compared.
  • At one time Ani had a population of over 100,000, rivalling Baghdad and Constantinople.
  • Their many restaurants are sophisticated and serve dishes rivalling the best to be found in Europe.
match, compare with, compete with, vie with, equal, measure up to, be in the same league as, be on a par with, touch, challenge
informal hold a candle to


Late 16th century: from Latin rivalis, originally in the sense 'person using the same stream as another', from rivus 'stream'.

  • A rival was originally someone with whom you had to share your water supply. Recorded in English from the late 16th century, the word goes back to Latin rivalis, which originally meant ‘person living on the opposite bank and using the same stream as another’. It comes via Latin rivus ‘stream’ from ripus river. Derive (Late Middle English) was originally ‘draw a fluid through or into a channel’ and comes from de- ‘down, away’ and rivus.

Words that rhyme with rival

adjectival, arrival, deprival, genitival, imperatival, infinitival, outrival, relatival, revival, substantival, survival

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ri·val

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