contestant / participant

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Senior Member
Based on the dictionary definitions, it appears that contestant and participant are synonymous. But I feel that these terms are not always interchangeable in the context of a contest.

For example, someone used contestant in a drawing contest, but I feel that participant is more appropriate in a competition that involves submitting an entry.

For me, contestant is more appropriate in competitions involving pure skills like dancing, singing, quiz shows (e.g., Who Wants to be a Millionaire), etc.

Do you see this distinction or is it just me?
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think we would probably call someone who submits a drawing or other entry as part of a competition an "entrant".

    Of the other two, "contestant" is fine for a game show or quiz, but "participant" could be someone who for instance just appears on a panel answering questions without there being any competition or prize being involved.

    [cross-posted with perp]
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