con·​tra·​dic·​tion | \ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən \

Definition of contradiction 

1 : act or an instance of contradicting the defendant's contradiction of the plaintiff's accusations

2a : a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something … both parts of a contradiction cannot possibly be true …— Thomas Hobbes

b : a statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other a round square is a contradiction in terms

3a : logical incongruity

b : a situation in which inherent factors, actions, or propositions are inconsistent or contrary to one another

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Examples of contradiction in a Sentence

No one was surprised by the defendant's contradiction of the plaintiff's accusations. Her rebuttal contained many contradictions to my arguments. There have been some contradictions in his statements. There is a contradiction between what he said yesterday and what he said today. Her statements are mired in contradiction. What he said yesterday is in direct contradiction to what he said today.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This contradiction lies at the core of Phase Four, a company currently developing its sole product: the RF thruster, a rocket thruster powered by plasma instead of traditional gases. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Plasma Thrusters Are About To Have Their Moment," 30 Aug. 2018 So the question is not whether the nominee can read unambiguous words, but how the nominee handles ambiguity and contradiction, what the nominee’s core constitutional principles are, and how the nominee exercises discretion. Carolyn Shapiro, Fortune, "Brett Kavanaugh Said Judges Should Just Follow the Law. Here’s Why That’s Bull," 10 July 2018 Thorpe’s life and career was in many ways a study in contradiction. Stephen Benedict Dyson, Washington Post, "Tired of American news? ‘A Very English Scandal’ plunges you into 1970s British social repression and political ambition.," 3 July 2018 But then again, Pusha is a coke rapper using the same old ’90s vile misogyny to package his diss, which is a dizzying study in contradictions. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Pusha T, Drake, and the Limits of Rap Beef," 30 May 2018 This isn’t the first time Pruitt has been caught in a contradiction lately. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "“This is a serious situation.”," 23 Apr. 2018 Cultures, like caterpillars, crawl forward in contradictions, drawing back and then suddenly springing forward. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "The Sense Beneath Edward Lear’s Nonsense," 17 Apr. 2018 There’s a contradiction at play in the relationship between craft beer and big business. Benjamin Shull, WSJ, "‘Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out’ Review: Windy City Windfall," 5 July 2018 The lyrics confront religion and sexuality, reveling in and lamenting – often at the same time – the messy contradictions inherent in both. Shaun Brady,, "This University of the Arts grad has a pentagram tattooed on his face. He's also one of the most inventive singers working today," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contradiction.' 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 contradiction

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contradiction

see contradict

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for contradiction

The first known use of contradiction was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of contradiction

: the act of saying something that is opposite or very different in meaning to something else

: a difference or disagreement between two things which means that both cannot be true


con·​tra·​dic·​tion | \ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən \

Kids Definition of contradiction

: something (as a statement) that is the opposite of or is much different from something else There were many contradictions in her story.

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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