In an aggressive fight, you have an "attacker" and a "defender".

In a friendly match, you have a "challenger", and someone who accepts and responds to the challenge (accepts the match). He could be the "opponent", or "belligerent", but I'm looking for a word that says "he accepted the friendly challenge."

  • Not challengee! It's not distinctive enough. – bobobobo Apr 8 '13 at 1:12
  • I don’t know about a single word, but “My seconds will meet with your seconds in the morning” sounds like the proposal — or perhaps acceptance — of a duel. The classic response of course being “Oh really? My seconds will meet with your seconds in the alley.” :) – tchrist Apr 8 '13 at 1:15
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    How about "defender" (again)? "Attacker" sounds aggressive, but "defender" not so much.. – Blorgbeard Apr 8 '13 at 2:15

I agree with the comment that defender is a fairly suitable correspondent to challenger. But depending on the context and phrasing, challenged and incumbent may also work, as illustrated in the following sentences.

• Alice was the challenger, and Bob the challenged party.
• Alice was the challenger; Bob was the incumbent.

  • Hmm, incumbent. While I like the word, it kind of implies "reigning champion", which isn't necessarily the case. – bobobobo Apr 8 '13 at 4:50
  • Where does incumbency figure in this? – Kris Apr 8 '13 at 5:30
  • @Kris, the pair of words challenger and incumbent often are used in describing election contests; and as bobobobo hints in comment, challenger and champion are often similarly paired in sports contests. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Apr 8 '13 at 5:51
  • The current holder of an office, or A holder of a position is irrelevant here. – Kris Apr 8 '13 at 5:56
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    It's not very sporting to attack someone while he's holding an office. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 8 '13 at 9:14

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