con·​tra·​dic·​tion ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce contradiction (audio)
: act or an instance of contradicting
the defendant's contradiction of the plaintiff's accusations
: 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
: a statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other
a round square is a contradiction in terms
: logical incongruity
: a situation in which inherent factors, actions, or propositions are inconsistent or contrary to one another

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And that, perhaps, is the core contradiction of Memphis. Noah Robertson, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Feb. 2023 No one spoke up to explain the contradiction, leaving the world to believe that indeed, he had been told that, and now, well, things had just changed. Arkansas Online, 19 Feb. 2023 Apparently no one in the White House sensed any contradiction between these messages. Nr Staff, National Review, 7 Feb. 2023 This is precisely the contradiction of Limón’s tenure. Carmen Maria Machado, ELLE, 30 Jan. 2023 Writer and director Laurel Parmet understands the contradiction of demanding maturity while demonizing any evidence of its occurrence. Jourdain Searles, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Jan. 2023 When pressed about the contradiction between his TikTok video and interview claim of lowering expectations, McFarland said that specific criticism was fair. Jake Traylor, NBC News, 20 Jan. 2023 Rather, the tell-all memoir revels in its contradiction on purpose — all in an effort to highlight the 38 years its narrator spent in that same kind of mindset. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 15 Jan. 2023 Countering a slingshot with a howitzer, though, is insecurity rolled into holy contradiction. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


see contradict

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near contradiction

Cite this Entry

“Contradiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​tra·​dic·​tion ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce contradiction (audio)
: something (as a statement) that contradicts something else
: a condition in which things oppose each other
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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