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Participant vs. Contestant: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 15, 2023
A participant is someone who takes part in an activity or event, while a contestant is specifically involved in a competition or contest.

Key Differences

A participant is generally involved in any kind of activity, event, or process, not necessarily competitive. A contestant, however, is specifically engaged in a competition, striving to win or achieve something.
Participants can be part of educational workshops, discussions, or community events, where the focus is on involvement rather than winning. Contestants are found in contexts like game shows, sports, and academic competitions, where there are clear objectives and often prizes.
The motivation for a participant is often learning, contributing, or experiencing. In contrast, a contestant's primary motivation is usually to compete against others and strive for victory or recognition.
Being a participant may require only attendance or minimal involvement. Being a contestant, however, often requires specific skills or preparation as they must actively compete against others.
Participants may receive certificates or acknowledgment for their involvement. Contestants, on the other hand, compete for titles, awards, or prizes, with their performance being evaluated against others.

Comparison Chart


Involved in activities or events.
Engaged in competitions or contests.


Any event, workshop, discussion, etc.
Competitive settings like sports, game shows.


Learning, experiencing, contributing.
Competing to win or achieve recognition.


May vary from minimal to active involvement.
Requires preparation and competitive skills.


Participation acknowledgment.
Aims for awards, titles, or prizes.

Participant and Contestant Definitions


A participant is involved for various reasons, such as learning or experiencing.
Each participant had their own reason for joining the program.


A contestant is someone who competes in a contest or competition.
The contestant answered the final question correctly.


A participant is someone who takes part in an event or activity.
Every participant in the workshop received a handbook.


A contestant actively competes against others.
The contestant was preparing for the debate competition.


Participants can be involved in non-competitive events.
She was a participant in the community volunteer program.


Contestants are found in various competitive settings, such as games or sports.
Contestants in the race trained for months.


Participants are often part of a group or team in an event.
The participants in the study were asked to complete a survey.


Contestants often aim to win prizes or achieve recognition.
The contestants were all hoping to win the championship title.


One that participates, shares, or takes part in something.


Contestants are judged or evaluated based on their performance.
Each contestant had three minutes to impress the judges.


Sharing in or taking part; participating.


One taking part in a contest; a competitor.


One who participates.
All participants must adhere to the rules of the competition.


One that contests or disputes something, such as an election or a will.


Sharing; participating; having a share of part.


A participant in a contest; specifically, a person who plays a game, as on a TV game show.


Sharing; participating; having a share or part.


One who brings a legal challenge.


A participator; a partaker.
Participants in their . . . mysterious rites.


One who contests; an opponent; a litigant; a disputant; one who claims that which has been awarded to another.


Someone who takes part in an activity


A person who participates in competitions


A person who participates in or is skilled at some game


A person who dissents from some established policy


Participants may or may not be actively engaged in the event's core activities.
As a participant, he attended all the seminar sessions.


Can a participant be in a competition?

Yes, but their role isn't necessarily competitive.

Can someone be both a participant and contestant?

Yes, in different contexts.

What is a contestant?

Someone competing in a contest or competition.

Do participants receive prizes?

Not usually, they may receive certificates or acknowledgment.

What is a participant?

Someone involved in an activity or event.

Are contestants always in competitive events?

Yes, that's the defining feature of contestants.

What skills do contestants need?

Skills relevant to the competition they are entering.

Do participants need special preparation?

It depends on the event, but often not as much as contestants.

What motivates contestants?

Competition, winning, or achieving recognition.

Are contestants judged?

Yes, typically based on their performance.

Do participants compete against others?

Not necessarily, as their involvement may not be competitive.

What settings do you find participants in?

Workshops, seminars, group activities, etc.

What is the goal of a participant?

Participation, learning, or contributing.

Is being a contestant more demanding than being a participant?

Often yes, due to the competitive nature.

What is the goal of a contestant?

To win or achieve recognition in a competition.

Can a participant become a contestant?

Yes, if they enter into a competitive aspect of an event.

Do participants receive feedback?

They may, but it's not as focused as in competitive settings.

Do contestants have to follow specific rules?

Yes, according to the guidelines of the competition.

Can a contestant be a passive participant?

No, contestants are actively involved in competing.

Where do you find contestants?

In games, sports, academic competitions, etc.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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