Definition of contention in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtɛnʃ(ə)n/


1 [mass noun] Heated disagreement: the captured territory was the main area of contention between the two countries
More example sentences
  • Sea power's dominance, however, has been a point of contention among military historians.
  • Another area of much contention is the desired level of channel control sought by the manufacturer.
  • The basis for this contention among British doctors seems even more tenuous.
disagreement, dispute, disputation, argument, variance;
discord, hostility, conflict, friction, acrimony, enmity, strife, dissension, disharmony, quarrelling, feuding
2 [count noun] An assertion, especially one maintained in argument: Freud’s contention that all dreams were wish fulfilment
More example sentences
  • I am not saying you do not have arguments against the contentions the applicant would wish to make.
  • But to this point, the administration has offered few direct answers to the particular contentions of the critics.
  • We say that if it is necessary, the second respondent in its argument has raised a contention.
argument, claim, plea, submission, allegation;
opinion, stand, position, view, belief, thesis, hypothesis, case, postulation;
declaration, assertion, affirmation, pronouncement, announcement, statement


in (or out of) contention

Having (or not having) a good chance of success in a contest: three penalties kept the team firmly in contention Heather’s error in the race put her out of contention
More example sentences
  • I have a lot more confidence that, if I just play my game, I'll have a chance to be in contention on the weekend.
  • It was nice to get back there again and be in contention with a chance to win coming up the back nine on Sunday.
  • So players who did not turn up for training with the County team ruled themselves out of contention.
in competition, competing, contesting, contending, challenging, vying;
striving, struggling, tussling, grappling, battling, fighting, warring


Late Middle English: from Latin contentio(n-), from contendere 'strive with' (see contend).

  • comes from Latin contendere ‘strive with’. Contender (mid 16th century) was originally a fighter rather than a competitor, a sense immortalized in I could have been a contender, spoken by Marlon Brando in the 1954 film On the Waterfront.

Words that rhyme with contention

abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|ten|tion

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