Definition of challenge in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈCHalənj/


1A call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel: he accepted the challenge
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • A diversity of masculine subjectivities is mobilized around and through Spike as he comes to terms with challenges to his power.
  • The obsession of kite flying can also be seen in competitive kite challenges.
dare, provocation;
1.1A task or situation that tests someone’s abilities: the ridge is a challenge for experienced climbers
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Every day, the dozy dozen face a series of challenges and tasks designed to test the sleep-deprived.
  • 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
1.2An attempt to win a contest or championship in a sport: a world title challenge
More example sentences
  • Manchester United have won through November in a manner that should presage a championship challenge.
  • They'll come second, but should really be staking a claim for a championship challenge.
  • It was a nice win and one that we needed if we are to mount a challenge for the play-offs.
2An objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof: a challenge to the legality of the order
More example sentences
  • Before the court now is the claimant's challenge to both limbs of that decision.
  • Last September Mr Justice Pitchford rejected their judicial review challenge to the Home Office's stance.
  • I was thinking by way of challenge to the witnesses who were involved in the theft of the vehicle.
test, questioning, dispute, stand, opposition, confrontation
2.1A sentry’s call for a password or other proof of identity.
Example sentences
  • Partisan poll workers have been accused of intimidating voters with photographs, heckling, and by challenges to their identity and qualifications.
  • In order to proceed further, you must answer the sentry's challenge by entering the countersign
  • The challenge must be made at a distance sufficient to prevent your being rushed by the person being challenged.
2.2 Law An objection regarding the eligibility or suitability of a jury member.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • The coroner in charge of the inquest is facing a legal challenge to his decision to appoint 12 royal courtiers to the jury
  • 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.
3 Medicine Exposure of the immune system to pathogenic organisms or antigens: recently vaccinated calves should be protected from challenge
More example sentences
  • The effect of M. habana vaccination on protection against challenge with M. tuberculosis was evaluated.
  • Acute antigen challenge of the airways can lead to rapid edema and appearance of plasma proteins in the airways.
  • Both mediators were elevated in patients with asthma after allergen challenge.


[with object]
1Invite (someone) to engage in a contest: he challenged one of my men to a duel
More example sentences
  • The contest challenged children to describe what they do before bed each night to help them get a good night's sleep - and why.
  • Last week a man saw me lifting by myself and challenged me to a contest.
  • Before she would agree to marry her suitor, she challenged him to several contests and always won.
1.1Enter into competition with or opposition against: incumbent Democrats are being challenged in the 29th district
More example sentences
  • In 1902, Saint-Pierre was also the bastion of a white supremacy whose power was being challenged by a populist opposition.
  • Mr Hayes has challenged the introduction of competition at the expense of the British Post Office.
  • That move is being challenged by the Federal Opposition.
1.2Make a rival claim to or threaten someone’s hold on (a position): they were challenging his leadership
More example sentences
  • A pioneer in liquid crystal displays, Sharp has seen its once-dominant position challenged by Taiwanese and Korean rivals.
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.3 [with object and infinitive] Invite (someone) to do something that one thinks will be difficult or impossible; dare: I challenged them to make up their own minds
More example sentences
  • We are challenged with a most difficult task, which is to uphold the law,’ he said.
  • Its hardships and difficulties challenge us to look into our soul so that we can ask how deeply we are willing to trust God.
  • Some might say he was challenging me to work harder for my own good.
1.4Test the abilities of: he needed something both to challenge his skills and to regain his crown as the king of the thriller
More example sentences
  • The rare breeds hatchery business has challenged them, Drowns says.
  • No strategy he could come up with would challenge him enough to spark interest.
  • During the trading year, random events could spring up to challenge your ability to manage the business through such unforeseen situations.
test, tax, strain, make demands on;
stretch, stimulate, inspire, excite
2Dispute the truth or validity of: employees challenged the company’s requirement
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Morrison completes her trilogy by confronting contemporary race and gender representations and challenging declarations of truth and law.
  • By saying she doesn't remember she is tacitly accepting the truth by not challenging it.
question, disagree with, dispute, take issue with, protest against, call into question, object to
2.1 Law Object to (a jury member).
Example sentences
  • 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
  • Defence Counsel may challenge two jury candidates and jurors will be asked if they have any connection with case or defendant.
  • 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
2.2(Of a sentry) call on (someone) for proof of identity.
Example sentences
  • 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.
3 Medicine Expose (the immune system) to pathogenic organisms or antigens.
Example sentences
  • The animals were not challenged with antigen after sensitization as the aim was to study the biochemical changes due to sensitization alone.
  • This suggests that these variables at least remain similarly ranked among individuals, despite the fact that the immune system was challenged by SRBC.
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /ˈCHalənjəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • He said: ‘Regardless of whether it is challengeable or not, it undermines the whole democratic process.’
  • Potentially the list is challengeable under Human Rights legislation because people have the right to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
  • Are you being advised that these particular patents are challengeable?


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

  • Challenge was first recorded in the senses ‘an accusation’ and ‘to accuse’. The Latin base is calumnia ‘false accusation’, which also gave calumny (mid 16th century) ‘a false statement damaging someone's reputation’ in late Middle English.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: chal·lenge

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