1. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.
  2. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.: Space exploration offers a challenge to humankind.
  3. a call to fight, as a battle, a duel, etc.
  4. a demand to explain, justify, etc.: a challenge to the treasurer to itemize expenditures.
  5. difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.
  6. Military. the demand of a sentry for identification or a countersign.
  7. Law. a formal objection to the qualifications of a particular juror, to his or her serving, or to the legality of an entire jury.Compare peremptory challenge.
  8. the assertion that a vote is invalid or that a voter is not legally qualified.
  9. Biology. the process of inducing or assessing physiological or immunological activity by exposing an organism to a specific substance.
  10. Hunting. the crying of a hound on finding a scent.

verb (used with object), chal·lenged, chal·leng·ing.

  1. to summon to a contest of skill, strength, etc.
  2. to take exception to; call in question: to challenge the wisdom of a procedure.
  3. to demand as something due or rightful.
  4. Military. to halt and demand identification or countersign from.
  5. Law. to take formal exception to (a juror or jury).
  6. to have a claim to; invite; arouse; stimulate: a matter which challenges attention.
  7. to assert that (a vote) is invalid.
  8. to assert that (a voter) is not qualified to vote.
  9. to expose an organism to a specific substance in order to assess its physiological or immunological activity.
  10. Archaic. to lay claim to.

verb (used without object), chal·lenged, chal·leng·ing.

  1. to make or issue a challenge.
  2. Hunting. (of hounds) to cry or give tongue on picking up the scent.


  1. donated or given by a private, corporate, or government benefactor on condition that the recipient raise an additional specified amount from the public: a challenge grant.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to invite or summon (someone to do something, esp to take part in a contest)
  2. (also intr) to call (something) into question; dispute
  3. to make demands on; stimulatethe job challenges his ingenuity
  4. to order (a person) to halt and be identified or to give a password
  5. law to make formal objection to (a juror or jury)
  6. to lay claim to (attention, etc)
  7. (intr) hunting (of a hound) to cry out on first encountering the scent of a quarry
  8. to inject (an experimental animal immunized with a test substance) with disease microorganisms to test for immunity to the disease


  1. a call to engage in a fight, argument, or contest
  2. a questioning of a statement or fact; a demand for justification or explanation
  3. a demanding or stimulating situation, career, object, etc
  4. a demand by a sentry, watchman, etc, for identification or a password
  5. US an assertion that a person is not entitled to vote or that a vote is invalid
  6. law a formal objection to a person selected to serve on a jury (challenge to the polls) or to the whole body of jurors (challenge to the array)

c.1200, “to rebuke,” from Old French chalongier “complain, protest; haggle, quibble,” from Vulgar Latin calumniare “to accuse falsely,” from Latin calumniari “to accuse falsely, misrepresent, slander,” from calumnia “trickery” (see calumny).

From late 13c. as “to object to, take exception to;” c.1300 as “to accuse,” especially “to accuse falsely,” also “to call to account;” late 14c. as “to call to fight.” Also used in Middle English with sense “claim, take to oneself.” Related: Challenged; challenging.


early 14c., “something one can be accused of, a fault, blemish;” mid-14c., “false accusation, malicious charge; accusation of wrong-doing,” also “act of laying claim” (to something), from Anglo-French chalenge, Old French chalonge “calumny, slander; demand, opposition,” in legal use, “accusation, claim, dispute,” from Anglo-French chalengier, Old French chalongier “to accuse, to dispute” (see challenge (v.)). Accusatory connotations died out 17c. Meanings “an objection” in law, etc.; “a calling to fight” are from mid-15c. Meaning “difficult task” is from 1954.

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