From Middle English contenden, 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.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈtɛnd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd
  • (file)


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

  1. (intransitive) To be in opposition; to contest; to dispute; to vie; to quarrel; to fight.
  2. (intransitive) To struggle or exert oneself to obtain or retain possession of, or to defend.
    • 17th century, John Dryden, Epistle III to the Lady Castlemain
      You sit above, and see vain men below / Contend for what you only can bestow.
    • 2020, C. Matthew McMahon, ‎Therese B. McMahon, 5 Marks of Christian Resolve
      God has entrusted something to the church, and it is the church's job to contend for it, even unto death
  3. (intransitive) To be in debate; to engage in discussion; to dispute; to argue.
  4. (intransitive) To believe (something is reasonable) and argue (for it); to advocate.
    In this paper the author contends that no useful results can be obtained if this method is used.
    • 1996, Michael Adler, ‎Erio Ziglio, Gazing Into the Oracle []
      Some panellists contended that the costs of research and care justified the establishment of a permanent national commission
  5. contend with: To try to cope with a difficulty or problem.
    • 2021 December 29, Dominique Louis, “Causal analysis: crashworthiness at Sandilands”, in RAIL, number 947, page 32:
      However, the challenges for the railway world are much greater than for automotive as we generally have more occupants, higher speeds, greater masses, higher energies, and an absence of seatbelts or airbags to contend with.


Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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