General English


  • noun a situation in which people or groups try to gain an advantage
  • verb to argue that a decision or a ruling is wrong
  • verb to compete to be successful in something such as an election


  • noun a type of promotion where prizes are given to people who give the right answers to a series of questions


  • noun a competition, especially in an election


  • noun an organised competition for a prize or title, especially one in which the entrants appear or demonstrate their skills individually and the winner is chosen by a group of judges

Origin & History of “contest”

The idea underlying contest, unlikely as it may seem, is of ‘bearing witness’. It goes back to Latin contestārī, a compound verb formed from the prefix com- ‘together’ and testārī ‘bear witness’, which in turn was derived from testis ‘witness’ (whence English testament, testicle, and testimony). this verb signified the bringing of a lawsuit by ‘calling witnesses together’ from both sides. Hence was introduced the adversarial or competitive notion that passed into English, probably via Old French contester (although in the 16th and 17th centuries traces of the original Latin sense ‘bear joint witness, attest’ survived in English, presumably as a scholarly reintroduction).