Definition of contentious
1 : likely to cause disagreement or argument a contentious issue
2 : exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes a man of a most contentious nature
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Examples of contentious in a Sentence
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.
Recent Examples of contentious from the Web
The Senate gave initial approval to the new school finance formula in the latest step forward in the contentious debate in Kansas over how much money to spend on public schools across the state.
But the scuffle shows how the contentious issue of immigration enforcement can stir passions on both sides.
DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend is divorced and the relationship with the ex is contentious and bumpy.
A summit of G-7 leaders in Sicily wrapped up on Saturday with a fragile truce on the two most contentious topics on the table.
What role, if any, Clinton’s use of the private server had in the attack has been a source of contentious debate for years, particularly during Clinton’s failed run for president.
A new task force will study one of the most contentious issues facing Miami-Dade: the imaginary line separating the county’s housing developments and shopping centers from the Everglades.
The contentious election and its stunning result had left Americans bitterly divided.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend is divorced and the relationship with the ex is contentious and bumpy.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contentious'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of contentious
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of contentious
CONTENTIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contentious for English Language Learners
: likely to cause people to argue or disagree
: involving a lot of arguing
: likely or willing to argue
Seen and Heard
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