General English

General Science

  • verb to try to obtain the same limited resources such as food, light or a mate as other organisms of the same or different species


  • verb to try to win or do better than others

Origin & History of “compete”

Compete comes from Latin competere. This was a compound verb formed from com- ‘together’ and petere ‘seek, strive’ (source of English petition, appetite, impetus, and repeat). At first this meant ‘come together, agree, be fit or suitable’, and the last of these meanings was taken up in the present participial adjective competēns, source of English competent (14th c.). In later Latin, however, competere developed the sense ‘strive together’, and this formed the basis of English compete.