contention

There is nothing "content," or satisfying, about being in contention, and that's probably because the word contention means being in a competition that only one side can win.

"And in this corner, the contender" is heard at most boxing matches to describe each of the fighters about to go into contention in the ring. Sometimes, though, a contention can be a battle of words or a struggle between two parties over a single point. The expression "bone of contention" describes a narrow object of disagreement that reaches the level of strife, or contention. For two hungry dogs, though, the bone of contention might be a serious matter.

Definitions of contention
  1. noun
    the act of competing as for profit or a prize
    “the teams were in fierce contention for first place”
    synonyms: competition, rivalry
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    Antonyms:
    cooperation
    joint operation or action
    types:
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    contest
    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
  2. noun
    a contentious speech act; a dispute where there is strong disagreement
    synonyms: arguing, argument, contestation, controversy, disceptation, disputation, tilt
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    types:
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    argle-bargle, argy-bargy
    a verbal dispute; a wrangling argument
    firestorm
    an outburst of controversy
    sparring
    an argument in which the participants are trying to gain some advantage
    polemic
    a controversy (especially over a belief or dogma)
    fight
    an intense verbal dispute
    type of:
    conflict, difference, difference of opinion, dispute
    a disagreement or argument about something important
  3. noun
    a point asserted as part of an argument
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    types:
    submission
    (law) a contention presented by a lawyer to a judge or jury as part of the case he is arguing
    type of:
    assertion, asseveration, averment
    a declaration that is made emphatically (as if no supporting evidence were necessary)
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