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1. The act of competing, as for profit or a prize; rivalry.
2. A test of skill or ability; a contest: a skating competition.
3. Rivalry between two or more businesses striving for the same customer or market.
4. A competitor: The competition has cornered the market.
5. Ecology The simultaneous demand by two or more organisms for a limited environmental resource, such as nutrients, living space, or light.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act of competing; rivalry
2. a contest in which a winner is selected from among two or more entrants
3. a series of games, sports events, etc
4. the opposition offered by a competitor or competitors
5. a competitor or competitors offering opposition
6. (Environmental Science) ecology the struggle between individuals of the same or different species for food, space, light, etc, when these are inadequate to supply the needs of all
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌkɒm pɪˈtɪʃ ən)

1. the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc.: competition between two teams.
2. a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage: to enter a competition.
3. the rivalry offered by a competitor: small businesses getting competition from the chain stores.
4. a competitor or competitors.
5. the struggle among organisms, both of the same and of different species, for food, space, and other vital requirements.
[1595–1605; < Late Latin competītiō=competī-, variant s. of competere to meet, come together (see compete) + -tiō -tion; sense influenced by competitor]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. As competitive as two dogs after a bitch in heat —Anon
  2. Asking him to compete fairly is like asking a hungry lion to leave the lambs alone —Mike Sommer
  3. Competition is like sugar sprinkled on cobbler pie —Elmer Kelton
  4. A non-competitive businessman is like an honest crook —Elyse Sommer
  5. Playing tennis without keeping score is like apple pie sans la mode —Anon
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



the Devil take the hindmost Every man for himself; survival of the fittest; similar to the more current phrase the last one in is a rotten egg, popular among children. This expression is said to have derived from an old legend concerning the Devil’s school at Toledo where students were instructed in the art of black magic. Each year, as a sort of test, the graduating class was made to run through an underground hall. The last one, if caught by the Devil, would then become his servant. The phrase was used as early as 1611.

give [someone] a run for [his] money To provide keen and tough competition, thereby inciting one’s opponent to go all out, to “give it all he’s got” to win. Dating from the 19th century, this expression was originally racing slang. The then current have a run for one’s money was suggestive of a determined struggle and subsequent victory or payoff. Today to give [someone] a run for his money means to make that person work for what would otherwise have been an easy victory.

jockey for position To maneuver or compete within the ranks for an advantageous position; to manipulate or pull strings to gain a more favorable position. The allusion is to horse racing and the jockeys’ skillful maneuvering. The expression is now frequently applied to any kind of competitive maneuvering although it has been used in reference to sports since the early part of this century.

In Alberta when there was no jury, congestion was caused by lawyers jockeying for position in order to appear before the right judge. (The Times, July, 1955)

keeping up with the Joneses Trying to maintain the social standing of one’s neighbors; creating the impression that one is on an equal social or economic stratum as one’s neighbors. This expression was coined in 1913 by Arthur “Pop” Momand, a cartoonist for the New York Globe, who satirized his own social pretensions in his long-running comic strip. The surname Jones was undoubtedly picked to represent the average American of Anglo-Saxon descent.

Why … does John Doe choose to speculate on margin? … An ages-old desire to get something for nothing; keeping up with the Joneses. (E. C. Harwood, Cause and Control of Business Cycles, 1932)

rat race See FRENZIEDNESS.

take up the gauntlet To accept or undertake willingly any challenging task; to accept an offer to fight or duel. Similarly, throw down the gauntlet means to challenge one to a fight or duel. Gauntlets were the armored gloves worn by knights in medieval times. A knight wishing to joust with another would cast his gauntlet to the ground as a challenge to combat. The other knight would pick up the gauntlet to show the challenge was accepted.

Making a proclamation, that whosoever would say that King Richard was not lawfully king, he would fight with him at the utterance, and throw down his gauntlet. (Hall, Chronicles of Richard III, 1548)

throw one’s hat into the ring To enter a competition, to become a candidate for public office, to accept a challenge. This expression, dating from the mid-19th century, is said to derive from the custom of throwing a hat into the ring to signal the acceptance of a pugilist’s challenge.

When Mr. Roosevelt threw his hat into the ring the other day, he gave the signal for a contest the like of which has not been seen before in this country. (Nation, March 7, 1912)

up for grabs Open to competition; available, free. This U.S. expression made its appearance in slang dictionaries by the 1940s; it is now quite commonly used in informal writing, often in reference to positions, candidacies, etc.

Right now every position is up for grabs. Every player is going to get a shot. (Boston Globe, April, 1967)

While the phrase carries the connotation of wide-open competition, it also implies the necessity of effort and competence to attain the goal. A possible but totally conjectural origin is that up for grabs derives from the jump ball in basketball.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.competition - a business relation in which two parties compete to gain customerscompetition - a business relation in which two parties compete to gain customers; "business competition can be fiendish at times"
business relation - a relation between different business enterprises
price competition, price war - intense competition in which competitors cut retail prices to gain business
2.competition - an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestantscompetition - an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants
game - a single play of a sport or other contest; "the game lasted two hours"
social event - an event characteristic of persons forming groups
athletic competition, athletic contest, athletics - a contest between athletes
bout - a contest or fight (especially between boxers or wrestlers)
championship - a competition at which a champion is chosen
chicken - a foolhardy competition; a dangerous activity that is continued until one competitor becomes afraid and stops
cliffhanger - a contest whose outcome is uncertain up to the very end
dogfight - a fiercely disputed contest; "their rancor dated from a political dogfight between them"; "a real dogfight for third place"; "a prolonged dogfight over their rival bids for the contract"
race - a contest of speed; "the race is to the swift"
tournament, tourney - a sporting competition in which contestants play a series of games to decide the winner
playoff - any final competition to determine a championship
series - (sports) several contests played successively by the same teams; "the visiting team swept the series"
field trial - a contest between gun dogs to determine their proficiency in pointing and retrieving
match - a formal contest in which two or more persons or teams compete
tournament - a series of jousts between knights contesting for a prize
race - any competition; "the race for the presidency"
spelldown, spelling bee, spelling contest - a contest in which you are eliminated if you fail to spell a word correctly
trial - (sports) a preliminary competition to determine qualifications; "the trials for the semifinals began yesterday"
3.competition - the act of competing as for profit or a prizecompetition - the act of competing as for profit or a prize; "the teams were in fierce contention for first place"
group action - action taken by a group of people
contest - a struggle between rivals
cooperation - joint operation or action; "their cooperation with us was essential for the success of our mission"
4.competition - the contestant you hope to defeatcompetition - the contestant you hope to defeat; "he had respect for his rivals"; "he wanted to know what the competition was doing"
contestant - a person who participates in competitions
champ, champion, title-holder - someone who has won first place in a competition
comer - someone with a promising future
finalist - a contestant who reaches the final stages of a competition
foe, enemy - a personal enemy; "they had been political foes for years"
favourite, front-runner, favorite - a competitor thought likely to win
world-beater, king - a competitor who holds a preeminent position
runner-up, second best - the competitor who finishes second
scratch - a competitor who has withdrawn from competition
semifinalist - one of four competitors remaining in a tournament by elimination
street fighter - a contestant who is very aggressive and willing to use underhand methods
tier - any one of two or more competitors who tie one another
tilter - someone who engages in a tilt or joust
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. rivalry, opposition, struggle, contest, contention, strife, one-upmanship (informal) There's been some fierce competition for the title.
2. opposition, field, rivals, challengers In this business you have to stay one step ahead of the competition.
3. contest, event, championship, tournament, quiz, head-to-head He will be banned from international competitions for four years.
"A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace" [Ovid The Art of Love]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. A vying with others for victory or supremacy:
2. A trial of skill or ability:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
sự cạnh tranh


[ˌkɒmpɪˈtɪʃən] N
1. (= competing) → competencia f, rivalidad f
in competition withen competencia con
there was keen competition for the prizese disputó reñidamente el premio
2. (Comm) → competencia f
unfair competitioncompetencia desleal
3. (= contest) → concurso m; (eg for Civil Service posts) → oposición f (Sport) → competición f
to go in for a competition; enter a competitioninscribirse en or presentarse a un concurso
60 places to be filled by competition60 vacantes a cubrir por oposición
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌkɒmpɪˈtɪʃən] n
(= contest) → compétition f, concours m
a singing competition → un concours de chant
(= rivalry) → concurrence f
There was fierce international competition → La concurrence internationale était rude.
competition for sth → concurrence pour qch
Competition for admission to the school is keen → Il y a beaucoup de concurrence pour entrer dans cette école.
in competition with → en concurrence avec
They are in competition with each other (two people)Ils sont en concurrence l'un avec l'autre.; (more than two people)Ils sont en concurrence les uns avec les autres.
(= competitors) the competition (SPORT)les concurrents (BUSINESS)la concurrence, les concurrents
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


no plKonkurrenz f(for um); to keep an eye on the competitiondie Konkurrenz beobachten; unfair competitionunlauterer Wettbewerb; a spirit of competitionWettbewerbs- or Konkurrenzdenken nt; to be in competition with somebodymit jdm wetteifern or (esp Comm) → konkurrieren; to be driven by competitionunter Konkurrenzdruck stehen
(= contest)Wettbewerb m; (in newspapers etc) → Preisausschreiben nt; beauty/swimming competitionSchönheitskonkurrenz for -wettbewerb m/Schwimmwettbewerb m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌkɒmpɪˈtɪʃn] n
a. (Comm) → concorrenza
in competition with → in concorrenza con
b. (gen) (Sport) → gara, competizione f, concorso
to go in for or enter a competition → partecipare ad una gara or un concorso
she won £5000 in a newspaper competition → ha vinto 5000 sterline in un concorso organizzato da un quotidiano
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(kəmˈpiːt) verb
to try to beat others in a contest, fight etc. We are competing against them in the next round; Are you competing with her for the job?
competition (kompəˈtiʃən) noun
1. the act of competing; rivalry. Competition makes children try harder.
2. people competing for a prize etc. There's a lot of competition for this job.
3. a contest for a prize. Have you entered the tennis competition?
competitive (kəmˈpetətiv) adjective
1. (of a person) enjoying competition. a competitive child.
2. (of a price etc) not expensive, therefore able to compete successfully with the prices etc of rivals.
3. (of sport etc) organised in such a way as to produce a winner. I prefer hill-climbing to competitive sports.
competitor (kəmˈpetitə) noun
a person etc who takes part in a competition; a rival. All the competitors finished the race.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


مُنَافَسَة soupeření konkurrence Wettbewerb ανταγωνισμός competencia kilpailu concours natjecanje gara 競争 경쟁 competitie konkurranse konkurencja competição соревнование tävling การแข่งขัน yarışma sự cạnh tranh 竞争
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
Here in the factory was combination, and before it competition faded away.
Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class.
A fierce competition ensued between them and their old rivals, the Hudson's Bay Company; which was carried on at great cost and sacrifice, and occasionally with the loss of life.
Bears on natural selection -- The term used in a wide sense -- Geometrical powers of increase -- Rapid increase of naturalised animals and plants -- Nature of the checks to increase -- Competition universal -- Effects of climate -- Protection from the number of individuals -- Complex relations of all animals and plants throughout nature -- Struggle for life most severe between individuals and varieties of the same species; often severe between species of the same genus -- The relation of organism to organism the most important of all relations.
The only available standard was the market price, and this he rejected as being fixed by competition among capitalists who could only secure profit by obtaining from their workmen more products than they paid them for, and could only tempt customers by offering a share of the unpaid-for part of the products as a reduction in price.
The limit of length in relation to dramatic competition and sensuous presentment, is no part of artistic theory.
A plan had to be devised to enable him to enter into successful competition. He was aware of the wish of the American government, already stated, that the fur trade within its boundaries should be in the hands of American citizens, and of the ineffectual measures it had taken to accomplish that object.
"DEAR MADAM: We have much pleasure in informing you that your charming story `Averil's Atonement' has won the prize of twenty-five dollars offered in our recent competition. We enclose the check herewith.
Hammerdown will sell by the orders of Diogenes' assignees, or will be instructed by the executors, to offer to public competition, the library, furniture, plate, wardrobe, and choice cellar of wines of Epicurus deceased.
Two friends of my youth, with whom it would be hopeless to attempt competition, have described the star-strewn journey to the moon.
He had gone into business, and found himself in competition with the fortunes of those who had been stealing while he had been fighting.
They threw it aside and employed Edison, Gray, and Dolbear to devise a telephone that could be put into competition with Bell's.