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Borrowed from Middle French competer, from Latin competere (to coincide, to be equal to, to be capable of), present active infinitive of competō, from com- (with) + petō (I seek, I aim for, I strive for). Compare Latin competītor (competitor).



compete (third-person singular simple present competes, present participle competing, simple past and past participle competed)

  1. To be in battle or in a rivalry with another for the same thing, position, or reward; to contend
    • December 13 2016, RTE, Golden Globes going green again to honour Irish talent
      Negga, who was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Limerick, already has a clutch of Best Actress nominations under her belt for Loving but this is the most high profile to date. She's won rave reviews for her performance since the movie's premiere at Cannes in May, where it competed for the Palme d'Or.
    • 1910, Victor Appleton, Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat
      "No. But one, or both of those men, may prove to be worse. That second man was Addison Berg, and he's agent for a firm of submarine boat builders who are rivals of dad's. Berg has been trying to find out why we abandoned our intention of competing for the Government prize."
    • 1909, Cup for Amateurs
      The idea behind Sir Montagu's gift is that there should be for the amateur clubs a trophy which will take the place of the Stanley Cup, now becoming a trophy for which professional clubs will alone compete.
  2. To be in a position in which it is possible to win or triumph.
    • 2010, Barrack Obama, Presidential Weekly Address - 27 February 2010
      Now, when it comes to meeting the larger challenges we face as a nation, I realize that finding this unity is easier said than done – especially in Washington. But if we want to compete on the world stage as well as we’ve competed in the world’s games, we need to find common ground.
  3. To take part in a contest, game or similar event

Usage notesEdit

A person will compete for a prize received for winning a competition. Two or more persons compete against one another if they are rivals. Two or more persons can compete with each other as teammates, however compete with is also used to indicate two persons competing against each other.

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Further readingEdit







  1. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present indicative form of competer.
  2. Informal second-person singular () affirmative imperative form of competer.