Definition of contest in English:

Share this entry



Pronunciation: /ˈkänˌtest/
1An event in which people compete for supremacy in a sport, activity, or particular quality: a gigantic air rifle shooting contest a beauty contest
More example sentences
  • Festivals are based on contests and events such as poetry readings, sports, and other activities.
  • The technical events include quiz contests, an on-the-spot hardware design contest and a hardware debugging contest.
  • Over 25 events, including contests, classes and fun games, will be held.
competition, match, tournament, game, meet, event, trial, bout, heat, race;
1.1A competition for a political position: the presidential contest
More example sentences
  • It is also the outcome of the calculated political manipulation of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Watching the Conservative Party leadership contest, political neutrals are unsure whether to laugh or cry.
  • Then, presidential candidates can't ignore the early political contests in New Hampshire and Iowa, or can they?
1.2A dispute or conflict: a contest between traditional and liberal views
More example sentences
  • Part B concentrates on such contests and disputes, exploring them more systematically than did the prior materials.
  • I don't at this stage, and I never have thought, that it's constructive to characterise it as a conflict or a contest.
  • The contest over tropes of traditional Africa and measures of authenticity in postcolonial arts and politics can be thought of in a similar manner.
fight, battle, tussle, struggle, competition, race


Pronunciation: /kənˈtest/
Pronunciation: /ˈkänˌtest/
[with object]
1Engage in competition to attain (a position of power): she declared her intention to contest the presidency
More example sentences
  • Twelve people are contesting eight positions on city council.
  • In the post-modern world, preoccupied with contesting every perceived centre of power, the severest casualty has been our ability to judge between right and wrong, beautiful and ugly.
  • It was representing Wolf hill as a delegate to the county board that he successfully contested the position of secretary.
compete for, contend for, vie for, fight for, try to win, go for
1.1Take part in (a competition or election): a coalition was formed to contest the presidential elections
More example sentences
  • The party's general council decided following the last election they would contest the next poll as an independent party, a spokesperson said.
  • Methodology was contested in the election of eight senators out of a total of 7,500 posts filled.
  • After the Russian troops left Chechnya by 1997, he contested the presidential election there.
2Oppose (an action, decision, or theory) as mistaken or wrong: the former chairman contests his dismissal
More example sentences
  • So it contests the theory of evolution while also accommodating much of the theories?
  • National threatens to dismantle workers rights to contest dismissal and also seek to reduce holiday entitlements.
  • None of the allegations made by the former pupils were contested.
oppose, object to, challenge, take a stand against, take issue with, question, call into question
2.1Engage in dispute about: the issues have been hotly contested
More example sentences
  • The ‘cause’ of an individual's sexual orientation is one of the most hotly contested debates within the scientific community.
  • Education and its reform were hotly contested topics of debate in Regency Spain.
  • The directive, which is up for review at the close of 2002, will no doubt be a hotly contested debate.
debate, argue about, dispute, quarrel over


no contest

1chiefly US another term for nolo contendere. he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts
More example sentences
  • Of the approximately 77,000 defendants convicted on federal charges in 2001, 97 percent pleaded guilty or no contest.
  • He pled no contest and will receive 18 months probation.
  • This comes, of course, less than a month after Jenna pled no contest to alcohol possession, after she was picked up in sweep of nightclubs by the city police.
2A competition, comparison, or choice of which the outcome is a foregone conclusion: when the two teams faced each other it was no contest
More example sentences
  • He threw in a few attention-seeking barbs, but as a popularity competition, it was no contest.
  • There is absolutely no contest comparing the new soundtrack to the old.
  • But a torch to compete with blazing headlights is no contest.
2.1A decision by the referee to declare a boxing match invalid on the grounds that one or both of the boxers are not making serious efforts.
Example sentences
  • In their first meeting Aug.28, 1998 in Las Vegas, the fight ended in the fourth round as a no contest when the referee the fighters from a clinch on the ropes.
  • His last foray into the ring was in February when his fight with Raul was declared a no contest.
  • The match was ruled no contest when Triple H ran in to help X-Pac.



Pronunciation: /kənˈtestəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • She says the assumptions of the rational actor model underlying classical contract theory are ‘arguably contestable.’
  • At the same time, some feminists have sought to impose a particular social vision, even though their own views are highly controversial and contestable.
  • Except that we received much more challenging and contestable papers that opened up the question of culture by showing it rather than saying it.


Pronunciation: /kənˈtestər/ Pronunciation: /ˈkänˌtes-/
Example sentences
  • That practice has stopped when parents / contesters decided to move courts.
  • Contesting a patent creates many benefits, and the contester gets only a fraction of them.
  • She suggests that sports ‘both objectify social divisions and nationalist sentiments and point to an alliance between contesters, a shared fanaticism’.


Late 16th century (as a verb in the sense 'swear to, attest'): from Latin contestari 'call upon to witness, initiate an action (by calling witnesses)', from con- 'together' + testare 'to witness'. The senses 'wrangle, strive, struggle for' arose in the early 17th century, whence the current noun and verb senses.

Words that rhyme with contest

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·test

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.