challenge

Definitions

General English

Law

  • noun the act of objecting to a decision and asking for it to be set aside
  • verb to refuse to accept a juror or piece of evidence

Medical

  • noun exposure of someone to a substance to determine whether an allergy or other adverse reaction will occur

Military

  • noun a difficult or demanding task
  • verb to call upon someone to identify himself
  • verb to invite someone to take part in a contest or combat
  • verb to contradict or object to something

Politics

  • noun a statement or action questioning a decision or criticising a person
  • verb to question the truth of something or refuse to accept that something is true
  • verb to ask someone to do something difficult, which he or she may not be able to do

Sports

  • noun a test of someone’s abilities, or a situation that tests someone’s abilities in a stimulating way

Origin & History of “challenge”

The original notion contained in challenge in English was of ‘accusation’. The word comes, via Old French chalenge or calenge, from Latin calumnia ‘false charge, deception’ (source of English calumny (15th c.)). By the early 14th century, the modern, more neutral sense of ‘inviting to a contest’ had emerged, however, and before the end of the 17th century the word’s accusatory connotations had virtually died out. Latin calumnia probably came from the verb calvī ‘deceive’. this may, via an unrecorded intermediary *calvilla, be related to Latin cavilla ‘raillery’, whose derived verb cavillārī was the source of English cavil (16th c.).
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