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Borrowed from Old French contendre, from Latin contendere (to stretch out, extend, strive after, contend), from com- (together) + tendere (to stretch); see tend, and compare attend, extend, intend, subtend.



contend (third-person singular simple present contends, present participle contending, simple past and past participle contended)

  1. To strive in opposition; to contest; to dispute; to vie; to quarrel; to fight.
  2. To struggle or exert oneself to obtain or retain possession of, or to defend.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden?)
      You sit above, and see vain men below / Contend for what you only can bestow.
  3. To strive in debate; to engage in discussion; to dispute; to argue.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Locke?)
      The question which our author would contend for.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dr H. More?)
      Many things he fiercely contended about were trivial.


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