Top 30 Slang For Compete – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to showing off your skills and striving for victory, having the right slang can give you that extra edge. Competing has never been more exciting than with the latest language trends that we’ve uncovered. Get ready to level up your competitive game with our list of must-know slang for compete.

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1. Go head to head

This phrase is used to describe two or more individuals or teams competing directly against each other. It implies a close and intense competition.

  • For example, “The two athletes will go head to head in the final race.”
  • In a video game tournament, a commentator might say, “These two players are about to go head to head in an epic showdown.”
  • A sports analyst might comment, “The two teams will go head to head for the championship title.”

2. Throw down

This slang phrase refers to initiating a challenge or competition, often with enthusiasm and intensity.

  • For instance, “He threw down the gauntlet and challenged his rival to a duel.”
  • In a rap battle, a performer might say, “I’m about to throw down some sick rhymes.”
  • A group of friends might playfully throw down a challenge to see who can eat the most hot dogs in a minute.

3. Battle it out

This phrase is used to describe a situation where two or more parties are competing or fighting vigorously to determine a winner.

  • For example, “The two teams will battle it out on the field to claim the championship.”
  • In a heated argument, someone might say, “Let’s battle it out and see who’s right.”
  • A reality TV show might feature contestants battling it out in physical or mental challenges.

4. Lock horns

This slang phrase refers to a situation where two individuals or groups are engaged in a fierce competition or conflict, often with a confrontational or combative attitude.

  • For instance, “The two lawyers locked horns in the courtroom.”
  • In a political debate, candidates might lock horns over their differing opinions.
  • A sports commentator might say, “These two teams always lock horns when they meet on the field.”

5. Face off

This phrase is used to describe a situation where two individuals or teams come together to compete or confront each other directly.

  • For example, “The two boxers will face off in the ring tomorrow night.”
  • In a friendly game of poker, players might face off against each other to see who has the best hand.
  • A movie might depict a final face-off between the hero and the villain.

6. Showdown

A showdown refers to a decisive confrontation or competition between two individuals or groups. It often implies a high-stakes situation where the outcome will determine a winner or loser.

  • For example, “The two teams are gearing up for a showdown in the championship game.”
  • In a political debate, one might say, “The candidates are preparing for a showdown on the key issues.”
  • A movie review might describe a climactic fight scene as a “spectacular showdown between the hero and the villain.”

7. Rumble

A rumble is an informal and often chaotic fight or physical altercation. It typically involves multiple participants and can occur spontaneously or as a result of a planned confrontation.

  • For instance, “The two gangs had a rumble in the alley last night.”
  • In a sports context, a commentator might say, “A fight broke out on the ice, leading to a bench-clearing rumble.”
  • A person describing a heated argument might say, “Things got heated and almost turned into a rumble.”

8. Clash

Clash refers to a strong disagreement or conflict between individuals or groups. It implies a clash of ideas, values, or interests that leads to tension or confrontation.

  • For example, “The two political parties clashed over their differing views on healthcare.”
  • In a workplace setting, a manager might say, “There has been a clash between two employees, and we need to resolve it.”
  • A news headline might read, “Protesters clash with police during a demonstration.”

9. Grind

Grind is a term used to describe the intense and persistent effort put into achieving a goal or success. It implies hard work, determination, and perseverance.

  • For instance, “He’s been grinding for years to become a successful entrepreneur.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “We need to grind it out and give our best on the field.”
  • A person discussing their career might say, “I’ve been grinding at my job to get that promotion.”

10. Strive

Strive means to make great efforts or struggle to achieve something. It implies a constant pursuit of improvement or success.

  • For example, “She strives to be the best in her field.”
  • In a motivational speech, a speaker might say, “Never stop striving for your dreams.”
  • A person describing their personal goals might say, “I strive to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

11. Jockey

To jockey means to compete for a favorable position, often in a race or a competitive situation. The term is derived from the action of jockeys in horse racing who maneuver their horses to gain an advantageous position.

  • For example, “The two runners jockeyed for the lead position throughout the race.”
  • In a business context, someone might say, “Companies are constantly jockeying for market dominance.”
  • In a political campaign, candidates may jockey for the support of influential groups or individuals.
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12. Tussle

To tussle means to engage in a physical struggle or fight, often in a competitive or confrontational manner. The term is typically used to describe a brief or intense physical altercation.

  • For instance, “The two players tussled for control of the ball during the game.”
  • In a heated argument, someone might say, “They tussled over differing opinions.”
  • In a wrestling match, competitors tussle to gain the upper hand and pin their opponent.

13. Slug it out

To slug it out means to engage in a prolonged and intense competition or battle, often with great effort or determination. The term is derived from the action of slugging, which refers to throwing powerful punches in a boxing match.

  • For example, “The two teams slugged it out in a grueling match that went into overtime.”
  • In a business context, someone might say, “The competition is fierce, and companies are slugging it out for market share.”
  • In a political campaign, candidates may slug it out in a series of debates and public appearances.

14. Vie

To vie means to compete eagerly or strive for superiority or victory. The term is often used to describe a competitive situation in which multiple individuals or entities are contending for the same goal or position.

  • For instance, “Several talented singers vied for the top spot in the singing competition.”
  • In a job interview, candidates vie for the position by showcasing their skills and qualifications.
  • In a sports tournament, teams from different countries vie for the championship title.

15. Spar

To spar means to engage in a friendly or playful competition, often in a sport or a verbal exchange. The term is derived from the practice of sparring in combat sports, where participants engage in controlled fighting for training or practice purposes.

  • For example, “The two friends sparred with each other in a friendly game of tennis.”
  • In a debate, participants may spar with each other by presenting arguments and counterarguments.
  • In a martial arts class, students spar with each other to improve their skills and techniques.
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16. Duel

A duel refers to a formal or informal contest between two individuals or groups to determine a winner. The term is often associated with a physical confrontation or competition where each participant takes turns attacking or defending themselves.

  • For example, “The two swordsmen engaged in a fierce duel, their blades clashing in the moonlight.”
  • In a figurative sense, a person might say, “They’re locked in a duel for the title of best chef in the city.”
  • A sports commentator might describe a close game as a “duel between two talented teams.”

17. Race

A race is a competition between individuals or groups to determine who is the fastest or most skilled. It involves participants moving as quickly as possible to reach a specific goal or finish line.

  • For instance, “The runners lined up at the starting line, ready to race for the gold medal.”
  • In a metaphorical sense, a person might say, “We’re in a race against time to finish this project before the deadline.”
  • A commentator might describe a close race as a “neck-and-neck battle for first place.”

18. Challenge

To challenge someone is to invite or dare them to compete or prove their abilities. It often involves pushing someone out of their comfort zone or asking them to perform a difficult task.

  • For example, “She challenged her friend to a game of chess to see who was the better player.”
  • In a professional setting, a manager might challenge their team to increase sales by a certain percentage.
  • A person might say, “I challenge you to a dance-off to determine who has the best moves.”

19. Match wits

To match wits with someone is to engage in a mental or intellectual competition where each participant tries to outsmart or outthink the other.

  • For instance, “The detective matched wits with the criminal, trying to anticipate their next move.”
  • In a friendly context, two friends might match wits in a game of trivia to see who has the most knowledge.
  • A person might say, “I love playing chess because it allows me to match wits with my opponent and strategize.”

20. Play off

To play off against someone is to compete against them directly in order to determine a winner or settle a dispute. It often involves a head-to-head competition where each participant tries to outperform the other.

  • For example, “The two basketball teams played off against each other in a thrilling match.”
  • In a business context, two companies might play off against each other to win a lucrative contract.
  • A person might say, “Let’s play off in a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets the last slice of pizza.”

21. Struggle

When you have to work hard and face obstacles to reach your objective.

  • For example, “I’ve been struggling to finish this project on time.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “We struggled in the first half, but we fought back and won the game.”
  • Someone might say, “Life is a constant struggle, but it makes us stronger.”

22. Race to the finish

When there is a sense of urgency or competition to complete a task or reach a goal.

  • For instance, “The teams are in a race to the finish to see who can complete the project first.”
  • In a marathon, a commentator might say, “The runners are in a fierce race to the finish line.”
  • A student might say, “I need to race to the finish and complete my homework before the deadline.”

23. Play for keeps

When someone is fully committed and determined to succeed in a competition or game.

  • For example, “In this tournament, we play for keeps. There are no second chances.”
  • In a poker game, a player might say, “I’m not bluffing, I’m playing for keeps.”
  • A coach might tell their team, “It’s time to step up and play for keeps. We can’t afford to lose.”

24. Go for the gold

When someone aims for the highest level of achievement or victory.

  • For instance, “In the Olympics, athletes compete to go for the gold medal.”
  • In a job interview, a candidate might say, “I’m determined to go for the gold and secure this position.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “Let’s give it our all and go for the gold!”

25. Fight tooth and nail

When someone competes or fights with great determination and intensity, giving their all.

  • For example, “In this championship match, both teams are fighting tooth and nail for the victory.”
  • In a courtroom battle, a lawyer might say, “I will fight tooth and nail to prove my client’s innocence.”
  • A business owner might say, “In this competitive market, we have to fight tooth and nail to stay ahead.”

26. Battle for the crown

This phrase refers to a fierce competition where participants are vying for the top prize or title. It implies a high-stakes contest with a prestigious reward.

  • For example, in a sports tournament, the final match might be described as the “battle for the crown.”
  • In a reality TV show, contestants might compete in various challenges to determine who will “win the crown.”
  • A gaming competition might feature players battling it out to be the “crowned” champion.
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27. Fight for the win

This phrase emphasizes the intense effort and determination required to achieve a win in a competitive situation. It suggests that participants are giving it their all in order to come out on top.

  • For instance, in a sports match, players might be described as “fighting for the win.”
  • In a business context, teams might be encouraged to “fight for the win” in a sales competition.
  • A motivational speaker might encourage individuals to “never give up and keep fighting for the win.”

28. Race against

This phrase describes a competition where participants are striving to complete a task or reach a goal in the shortest amount of time. It implies a sense of urgency and the need to outperform others.

  • For example, in a track and field event, athletes might “race against” each other to see who can finish first.
  • In a cooking competition, contestants might be given a time limit and must “race against” the clock to prepare their dishes.
  • A student might feel the pressure to “race against” their classmates in a timed exam.

29. Show your skills

This phrase encourages individuals to demonstrate their talents and abilities in a competitive setting. It suggests that participants should showcase their skills in order to stand out and potentially win.

  • For instance, in a talent show, contestants are often asked to “show their skills” in singing, dancing, or other performing arts.
  • In a job interview, candidates might be asked to “show their skills” by completing a task or presenting their portfolio.
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “Go out there and show your skills on the field.”

30. Fight for the top spot

This phrase emphasizes the intense competition and determination required to secure the highest position or ranking in a competition or hierarchy. It suggests that participants are willing to put in a great effort to achieve the top spot.

  • For example, in a sports league, teams might “fight for the top spot” in the standings.
  • In a sales competition, salespeople might “fight for the top spot” on the leaderboard.
  • A student might study hard and “fight for the top spot” in their class rankings.