preposition \ˈkän-trə\

Definition of CONTRA

:  against —used chiefly in the phrase pro and contra
:  in opposition or contrast to

Examples of CONTRA

  1. <a roundup of editorials pro and contra the proposed constitutional amendment>

Origin of CONTRA

Middle English, from Latin
First Known Use: 15th century

Related to CONTRA

against, agin [dialect], anti
for, pro


noun \ˈkän-trə, ˈkōn-, -ˌträ\

Definition of CONTRA

:  a member of a guerrilla group opposed to the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s

Origin of CONTRA

American Spanish, short for contrarrevolucionario counterrevolutionary
First Known Use: 1981

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Member of a counterrevolutionary force that sought to overthrow Nicaragua's left-wing Sandinista government. The original contras had been National Guardsmen during the regime of Anastasio Somoza (see Somoza family). The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played a key role in training and funding the group, whose tactics were decried by the international human-rights community. In 1984 the U.S. Congress banned military aid to the contras; the efforts of the administration of U.S. president Ronald Reagan to circumvent the ban led to the Iran-Contra Affair. A general peace in the region was negotiated by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sánchez, and in 1990 Nicaraquan president Violeta Chamorro negotiated the contras' demobilization. See also Daniel Ortega.


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