con·​tra·​dic·​tion | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce contradiction (audio) \

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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Synonyms for contradiction


dichotomy, incongruity, paradox

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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

The series sees no contradiction between fighting the patriarchy and having a ton of Instagram followers. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "The Fashion Closet, Seen From Inside and Out," 1 July 2018 But this environmental explanation, while also conservative, is in contradiction with The Bell Curve’s emphasis on hereditary traits. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Charles Murray Is a Marketing Genius," 11 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration is a haven for big spenders, few of whom seem to see a contradiction with their expressed opposition to government waste or the perils of Big Government. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "Shocker: Ben Carson Lied About Picking Out That $31,000 Dining Set for His Office," 14 Mar. 2018 Some might see a contradiction if looking only from afar. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts owner Jim Irsay a big draw for top front-office talent," 31 Jan. 2018 Pelosi’s insight was that any Democratic proposal would necessarily prompt intra-party infighting and muddy the waters, while Republicans simply had no way of resolving the internal contradictions of their own position. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The time Nancy Pelosi saved Social Security," 21 Nov. 2018 Those users pointed out the essential contradictions in the idea behind excluding some toxic subreddits from the main body of users. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Reddit updates its quarantine policy with an appeals process," 28 Sep. 2018 Either way, the contradiction will remain, waiting to come back. New York Times, "Germany’s Europe-Shaking Political Crisis Over Migrants, Explained," 3 July 2018 The movement remains an epic, rolling ball of contradictions, gaining momentum in spite of itself, almost certain to take out someone or something in the coming 12 months. Will Bunch,, "An oxymoron of anger and joy, Women's March doesn't know what's next. That's the beauty of it | Will Bunch," 20 Jan. 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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Statistics for contradiction

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contradiction

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

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More Definitions for contradiction



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 How to pronounce contradiction (audio) \

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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Comments on contradiction

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

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