con·​tra | \ ˈkän-trə How to pronounce contra (audio) \

Definition of contra

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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


con·​tra | \ ˈkän-trə How to pronounce contra (audio) , ˈkōn-, -ˌträ How to pronounce contra (audio) \

Definition of contra (Entry 2 of 3)

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



Definition of contra- (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : against : contrary : contrasting contradistinction
2 : pitched below normal bass contrabassoon

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Synonyms & Antonyms for contra

Synonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Preposition

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Examples of contra in a Sentence

Preposition a roundup of editorials pro and contra the proposed constitutional amendment
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun A year later Cardinal Obando traveled to Washington, condemned the Sandinistas and spoke well of the contras. Stephen Kinzer, New York Times, "Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, Key Figure in Nicaraguan Turmoil, Dies at 92," 3 June 2018 Una hermosa mujer, 20 años después de presenciar el asesinato de su madre, busca venganza contra el hombre que la mató. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 That’s why these health conditions are called contraindications—the vaccine is indicated for the safety of all children, but a child’s condition means their parents should go against that recommendation (contra). Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Actually Counts as a Medical Exemption for Vaccines—and What's at Stake When They're Abused," 26 Aug. 2019 Free general admission and live music from Ten Dollar Bet, who plays contras, rags, polkas, swing and Old World classics. Anchorage Daily News, "First Friday art openings on July 5," 4 July 2019 Un ex-convicto participa contra su voluntad en peleas clandestinas para ganar dinero para la operación de una joven. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 The dehumanization and torture of people simply seeking a better way of life, fleeing what climate change and American imperialism have wrought, is contra to every purportedly American value. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: This is about more than trash. It’s also a civics lesson in St. Paul," 1 Aug. 2019 Organizer Eli Malone was invited by a friend, and the space was their first introduction to contra. Nicole Blackwood,, "Chicago's Queer Contra practices an old dance (think Jane Austen, think 'Oklahoma!'), made new," 12 June 2019 Similar tensions cropped up during the Watergate, Iran-contra, Whitewater and Valerie Plame leak investigations. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "For Mueller, a Feared Weakness Becomes a Strength," 5 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contra


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1981, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contra


Middle English, from Latin


American Spanish, short for contrarrevolucionario counterrevolutionary


Middle English, from Latin, from contra against, opposite — more at counter

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Time Traveler for contra

Time Traveler

The first known use of contra was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Contra.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for contra



Kids Definition of contra-

1 : against : contrary : contrasting contradiction
2 : pitched below normal bass
con·​tra | \ ˈkän-trə How to pronounce contra (audio) \

Legal Definition of contra

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in opposition or contrast to



Legal Definition of contra (Entry 2 of 2)

: placed or set in opposition contra parties

History and Etymology for contra



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More from Merriam-Webster on contra

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contra

Spanish Central: Translation of contra Encyclopedia article about contra

Comments on contra

What made you want to look up contra? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


delight or enjoyment

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