: controversy, debate
The location of the new high school has been a recurrent item of contestation at town meetings.
"Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke told reporters the division of the [Nelson Mandela] estate … had been accepted by Mandela's family earlier on Monday with no contestation so far." - Miami Times (Florida), February 5, 2014
Did You Know?
If you guessed that "contestation" is somehow connected to "contest," you're right. They're linked both through meaning and through etymology. "Contest" can be a verb meaning "to dispute," and "contestation" essentially means "an act, instance, or state of contesting." Both words can be traced to the Latin verb "contestari," meaning "to call to witness." "Contestari" itself comes from "testis," a Latin noun meaning "witness," which is also the source of "attest" ("to bear witness to"), "testify" ("to bear witness"), and "testimony" ("a declaration made by a witness"), among others.
Test Your Vocabulary
Which of the following means "to engage in controversy": bowdlerize, extemporize, or polemicize? The answer is …