Definition of compete in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəmˈpiːt/


[no object]
1Strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others: universities are competing for applicants he competed with a number of other candidates (as adjective competing) competing political ideologies
More example sentences
  • Cullen says if the NRL schedules games correctly the teams would not be competing for crowds.
  • In particular, the business teams are often competing for corporate resources with other businesses.
  • The war-generated industrial boom competed with the manpower needs of the armies.
take part, play, be a contestant, be a competitor, participate, be involved, get involved, engage;
enter, go in for
informal throw one's hat in the ring, be in the running
contend, vie, fight, battle, clash, tussle, grapple, wrestle, wrangle, jockey, wage war, cross swords, lock horns, go head to head;
strive against, struggle against, pit oneself against;
challenge, take on, try to beat
informal pitch oneself against
1.1 [usually with negative] Be able to rival another or others: no one can compete with his physical prowess
More example sentences
  • The government is prodding banks to clean up bad loans so they are able to compete with foreign rivals.
  • And the third place is further proof that he is able to compete with the senior drivers around him.
  • Decent bass and good sound quality impressed the reviewers, but it was never going to be able to compete with a larger system.
rival, challenge, 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
informal hold a candle to
1.2Take part in a contest: he competed in numerous track meets as a child
More example sentences
  • It is important for you to support these contests by competing or by attending them.
  • The company competes in dozens of contests a year, and has won, or reached the finals in, nearly 20 in the three years since its service has been available.
  • May competes in an archery contest with other young women.


Early 17th century: from Latin competere, in its late sense 'strive or contend for (something)', from com- 'together' + petere 'aim at, seek'.

  • This word is from Latin competere in its late sense ‘strive or contend for (something)’: the elements here are com- ‘together’ and petere ‘aim at, seek’. As well as giving us competition (early 17th century) this is also the source of competent (Late Middle English); while petere gives us: impetus [M17] and impetuous (Late Middle English) ‘seek towards, assail’; petition (Middle English) an act of seeking for something; petulant (late 16th century) originally immodest in what you seek; and repeat (Late Middle English) seek again.

Words that rhyme with compete

accrete, autocomplete, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cheat, cleat, clubfeet, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discreet, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, meet-and-greet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, sangeet, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, treat, tweet, wheat

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com|pete

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