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

n the act of competing as for profit or a prize

“the teams were in fierce contention for first place”
competition, 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 contentious speech act; a dispute where there is strong disagreement

arguing, argument, contestation, controversy, disceptation, disputation, tilt
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argle-bargle, argy-bargy
a verbal dispute; a wrangling argument
an outburst of controversy
an argument in which the participants are trying to gain some advantage
a controversy (especially over a belief or dogma)
an intense verbal dispute
Type of:
conflict, difference, difference of opinion, dispute
a disagreement or argument about something important

n a point asserted as part of an argument

(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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