adjective con·ten·tious \kən-ˈten(t)-shəs\

: likely to cause people to argue or disagree

: involving a lot of arguing

: likely or willing to argue

Full Definition of CONTENTIOUS

:  likely to cause disagreement or argument <a contentious issue>
:  exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes <a man of a most contentious nature>
con·ten·tious·ly adverb
con·ten·tious·ness noun


  1. After a contentious debate, members of the committee finally voted to approve the funding.
  2. The dispute involves one of the region's most contentious leaders.
  3. In the perpetual skirmish between science and religion, biological evolution is a contentious battle ground. —Barry A. Palevitz, Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 1999


(see contention)
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of CONTENTIOUS

belligerent, bellicose, pugnacious, quarrelsome, contentious mean having an aggressive or fighting attitude. belligerent often implies being actually at war or engaged in hostilities <belligerent nations>. bellicose suggests a disposition to fight <a drunk in a bellicose mood>. pugnacious suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat <a pugnacious gangster>. quarrelsome stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause <the heat made us all quarrelsome>. contentious implies perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling <wearied by his contentious disposition>.


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June 29, 2015
expeditious Hear it
efficient or prompt
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