: 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
In the perpetual skirmish between science and religion, biological evolution is a contentious battle ground. —Barry A. Palevitz, Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 1999 Creator Jim Davis had spent two years fine-tuning the contentious relationship between the grouchy cat, his milquetoast owner, Jon (Davis' pen-and-ink alter ego), and befuddled dog Odie—in a strip he'd thought would be called Jon. —Beth Johnson, Entertainment Weekly, 19 June 1998 Historians, admittedly a contentious lot, have failed even to agree on what to call King Philip's War. —Jill Lepore, The Name of War, 1998 My mental attitude when drinking is both contentious and malicious, and while in this mood and state I was the author of statements which I know to be wholly unfounded. —Theodore Dreiser, The Titan, 1914 After a contentious debate, members of the committee finally voted to approve the funding. The dispute involves one of the region's most contentious leaders. See More
Recent Examples on the Web There’s no changes to Medicaid, according to the source, which was previously a contentious point in the negotiations. —Elizabeth Both, NBC News, 29 May 2023 The politically contentious case fueled national debates in the wake of the overturning of Roe V. Wade last summer. —USA TODAY, 26 May 2023 Conversations in the classroom about gender identity and sexuality have become contentious between school systems and parents across the country. —Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 26 May 2023 State funding for Alaska’s rural schools, in particular, has long been contentious. —Sean Maguire, Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2023 The question of whether Pride events should prominently feature a police presence has long been a contentious one within the LGBTQ community, which has faced decades of violence and harassment from police. —Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 24 May 2023 Hearings dealing with other contentious issues like gun control and voucher-like bills have also lasted late into the evening this session. —Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, 5 May 2023 Hailey stuck around after the contentious meeting and despite the division on display, found some inspiration in the community, too. —Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2023 That move proved hugely contentious, with many investors exploring legal options even after the Swiss government maintained the move was within its rights under the securities’ contract. —Marion Halftermeyer, Fortune, 24 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contentious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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