use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

PURCHASE THE DICTIONARY

The online searchable American Heritage Dictionary includes definitions, pronunciations, etymologies, and feature notes. For further information, including the Indo-European Roots Appendix and the Semitic Roots Appendix, you can purchase the dictionary as an iOS or an Android app—or buy the deluxe printed edition.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

ri·val (rīvəl)
n.
1. One who attempts to equal or surpass another, or who pursues the same object as another; a competitor.
2. One that equals or almost equals another in a particular respect: She is his rival in sarcasm.
3. Obsolete A companion or an associate in a particular duty.
v. ri·valed, ri·val·ing, ri·vals or ri·valled or ri·val·ling
v.tr.
1. To attempt to equal or surpass.
2. To be the equal of; match: "They achieved more than they had ever dreamed, lending a magic to their family story that no tale of ordinary life could possibly rival" (Doris Kearns Goodwin).
v.intr.
To be a competitor or rival; compete.

[Latin rīvālis, one using the same stream as another, a rival, from rīvus, stream; see rei- in Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: rival, compete, vie
These verbs mean to seek to equal or surpass another. Rival is the most general: "His ambition led him to rival the career of Edmund Burke" (Henry Adams).
To compete is to contend with another or others to attain a goal, as a victory in a contest: Local hardware stores can't compete with discount outlets. Vie, often interchangeable with compete, sometimes stresses the challenge implicit in rivalry: The top three students vied for the title of valedictorian.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Have a promotional code?

GET YOUR FREE APP!

Put the entire dictionary at your fingertips—anywhere, anytime!

BUY THE iOS or ANDROID APP

dictionary-app

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.