a person who takes part in a competition or tries to win something a contender for a gold medal in the Olympics a leading/serious/strong contender for the party leadershipExtra examples He’s gone from being a serious title contender to being totally written off. Senator Clinton was considered a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. a strong contender for the gold medal Germany last night emerged as a contender to stage next year’s event. He is seen as one of the leading contenders for the post. Peter is a contender for the gold medal in the Olympics. She is a strong contender for the party leadership. The team has proved that it is a genuine title contender.