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ri·val (rīvəl)
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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 the Appendix of 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 ©2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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