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


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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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