Etymology
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contestant (n.)

"one who contests, a disputant, a litigant," 1660s, from contestant (adj.), 1660s, from French contestant, present participle of contester (see contest (v.)). Revived and popularized 1861, when it became a journalist's term for the combatants on either side in the U.S. Civil War.

updated on March 14, 2018

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Definitions of contestant from WordNet

contestant (n.)
a person who participates in competitions;
contestant (n.)
a person who dissents from some established policy;
Synonyms: dissenter / dissident / protester / objector
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.