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


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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 internal contradiction—criticizing Google for achieving a scale that helps consumers and sellers—leaves the Justice Department in an awkward position. George L. Priest, WSJ, "Suing Google Won’t Help Consumers," 20 Oct. 2020 Even novelties that were never part of the Constitution’s original design and which many of the Framers would have opposed, like the Senate’s legislative filibuster, aren’t really in major contradiction of it. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Constitution Is the Crisis," 19 Oct. 2020 Winterhof acknowledged that the poll may feel like a contradiction to many LGBTQ+ people. Kate Sosin, USA TODAY, "Trump voters overwhelmingly support LGBTQ+ equality, new poll finds," 12 Oct. 2020 Doctors on Friday disputed reports that the treatment President Trump underwent after testing positive for the coronavirus was developed using tissue from an aborted fetus in contradiction of Trump's anti-fetal tissue research policy. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Doctors dispute claims that Trump's coronavirus treatment was developed with human fetal tissue," 9 Oct. 2020 Some guests are quarantining while others are not, in apparent contradiction of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Josh Wingrove,, "Trump Tempted Fate Long Before Rose Garden Coronavirus Cluster," 4 Oct. 2020 House Democrats noted in their letter to federal officials on Monday that Redfield’s testimony seems to be in contradiction with the facts of the April 22 phone call. Washington Post, "The CDC softened a report on meatpacking safety during covid. Democrats say they want to know why.," 30 Sep. 2020 There is a contradiction in Panjshiris’ restiveness, though. Fatima Faizi, New York Times, "In Proud Corners of Afghanistan, New Calls for Autonomy," 28 Sep. 2020 Health care policy experts believe this combination of advantages under a private insurance system is a contradiction in terms, a logical impossibility. Eric Zorn,, "Column: Trumpcare is -- wait for it! wait for it! -- still coming," 29 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for contradiction

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for contradiction

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contradiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce contradiction (audio)

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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