If you are trying to win or attempting to prove you're the best, you're in a competition. The word also describes your opponent in sports, business, and politics.

If you're trying to beat out someone else — whether in the Olympics or a pie-baking contest — it's a competition, and the other contestants are called the competition too. If you describe something as a "friendly competition," you're saying the outcome isn't critical, or there's no money involved. If you do something impressive in order to win, people will say competition brings out the best in you. If you try to injure your opponent, they'll say it brings out the worst.

Definitions of competition

n the act of competing as for profit or a prize

contention, rivalry
joint operation or action
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a struggle between rivals
battle of wits
a contest in which intelligence rather than violence is used
bidding contest
a series of competing bids
popularity contest
competition (real or figurative) for popular support
Type of:
group action
action taken by a group of people

n a business relation in which two parties compete to gain customers

“business competition can be fiendish at times”
price competition, price war
intense competition in which competitors cut retail prices to gain business
Type of:
business relation
a relation between different business enterprises

n an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants

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a single play of a sport or other contest
athletic competition, athletic contest, athletics
a contest between athletes
a contest or fight (especially between boxers or wrestlers)
a competition at which a champion is chosen
a foolhardy competition; a dangerous activity that is continued until one competitor becomes afraid and stops
a contest whose outcome is uncertain up to the very end
a fiercely disputed contest
a contest of speed
tournament, tourney
a sporting competition in which contestants play a series of games to decide the winner
any final competition to determine a championship
(sports) several contests played successively by the same teams
field trial
a contest between gun dogs to determine their proficiency in pointing and retrieving
a formal contest in which two or more persons or teams compete
a series of jousts between knights contesting for a prize
any competition
spelldown, spelling bee, spelling contest
a contest in which you are eliminated if you fail to spell a word correctly
(sports) a preliminary competition to determine qualifications
away game, road game
a game played away from home
home game
a game played at home
exhibition game, practice game
a game whose outcome is not recorded in the season's standing
the final game of a double header
double feature, doubleheader, twin bill
two games instead of one (especially in baseball when the same two teams play two games on the same day)
playoff game
one game in the series of games constituting a playoff
cup tie
an eliminating game between teams in a cup competition
an athletic contest consisting of ten different events
Olympiad, Olympic Games, Olympics
the modern revival of the ancient games held once every 4 years in a selected country
Special Olympics
an athletic contest modeled after the Olympic Games but intended for mentally or physically handicapped persons
prelim, preliminary
a minor match preceding the main event
an athletic contest consisting of five different events
auto race, automobile race, car race
a race between (usually high-performance) automobiles
bicycle race
a race between people riding bicycles
boat race
a race between people rowing or driving boats
a high-speed motorcycle race on a public road
chariot race
a race between ancient chariots
dog racing
a race between dogs; usually an occasion for betting on the outcome
foot race, footrace, run
a race run on foot
a race (as in swimming) in which each contestant has a free choice of the style to use
cross country
a long race run over open country
a preliminary race in which the winner advances to a more important race
horse race
a contest of speed between horses; usually held for the purpose of betting
potato race
a novelty race in which competitors move potatoes from one place to another one at a time
sack race
a novelty race in which competitors jump ahead with their feet confined in a sack
scratch race
a race in which all contestants start from scratch (on equal terms)
ski race, skiing race
a race between people wearing skis
relay, relay race
a race between teams; each member runs or swims part of the distance
a race (especially in rowing) in which runners-up in the eliminating heats compete for a place in the final race
World Cup
a soccer tournament held every four years between national soccer teams to determine a world champion
elimination tournament
a tournament in which losers are eliminated in successive rounds
a tournament in which both professionals and amateurs may play
home stand
a series of successive games played at a team's home field or court
World Series
series that constitutes the playoff for the baseball championship
boxing match
a match between boxers; usually held in a boxing ring
chess match
a match between chess players
a match in a cockpit between two fighting cocks heeled with metal gaffs
cricket match
a match between two cricket teams
diving, diving event
an athletic competition that involves diving into water
field event
a competition that takes place on a field rather than on a running track
the final match between the winners of all previous matches in an elimination tournament
one of the four competitions in an elimination tournament whose winners go on to play in the semifinals
semi, semifinal
one of the two competitions in the next to the last round of an elimination tournament
round robin
a tournament in which every contestant plays every other contestant
meet, sports meeting
a meeting at which a number of athletic contests are held
swimming event
an athletic competition that involves swimming
tennis match
a match between tennis players
match game, matched game, test match
an international championship match
wrestling match
a match between wrestlers
hop-step-and-jump, triple jump
an athletic contest in which a competitor must perform successively a hop and a step and a jump in continuous movement
a contest in which teams pull of opposite ends of a rope; the team dragged across a central line loses
arms race
a competition between nations to have the most powerful armaments
campaign, political campaign, run
a race between candidates for elective office
Type of:
social event
an event characteristic of persons forming groups

n the contestant you hope to defeat

“he wanted to know what the competition was doing”
challenger, competitor, contender, rival
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champ, champion, title-holder
someone who has won first place in a competition
someone with a promising future
a contestant who reaches the final stages of a competition
enemy, foe
a personal enemy
favorite, favourite, front-runner
a competitor thought likely to win
king, queen, world-beater
a competitor who holds a preeminent position
runner-up, second best
the competitor who finishes second
a competitor who has withdrawn from competition
one of four competitors remaining in a tournament by elimination
street fighter
a contestant who is very aggressive and willing to use underhand methods
any one of two or more competitors who tie one another
someone who engages in a tilt or joust
mortal enemy
an enemy who wants to kill you
record-breaker, record-holder
someone who breaks a record
Type of:
a person who participates in competitions

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