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 President Trump’s economic agenda has always been marked by a contradiction. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Immigration Gift to China," 23 June 2020 In a statement to USA TODAY, Devin O’Malley, a Pence adviser, denied there is any contradiction between the task force’s public comments and members’ private concerns. Brett Murphy, USA TODAY, "Feds privately explore whether Latino immigrants are to blame for coronavirus flare-ups," 19 June 2020 In a sense, this is a microcosm of the essential contradiction at the heart of the contemporary immigration reform dialogue: ultimately, very few policymakers don’t want immigrant workers at all. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, "America Owes More to Its “Essential” Immigrant Workers," 19 June 2020 Yet the unfettered flogging of thoroughbreds, a practice that has long provided vivid contradiction of the sport’s professed affection for its animals, will henceforth carry steep penalties in Kentucky. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky is cracking the whip on excessively hitting thoroughbreds, with mixed opinions," 17 June 2020 Many residents, citing health and environmental concerns, pointed to the racial equality resolution and said allowing the wells would be in direct contradiction. Dallas News, "‘You feel like you’re not worth anything’: Arlington passes resolution to combat racial inequality," 12 June 2020 Fighting for a country that does not treat you as a full citizen means living inside a contradiction. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods Takes On the Black Trauma of Vietnam," 12 June 2020 That glaring contradiction was among the reasons Congress was unable to hold a public Worldwide Threats hearing, an annual briefing, this year. NBC News, "From 'beautiful letters' to 'a dark nightmare': How Trump's North Korea gamble went bust," 25 May 2020 The once-a-century strangeness of this downturn has combined with the way stock indexes are calculated and an element of sheer chance to produce this apparent contradiction. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "Why are stock prices going up when the economy is in ruins? Here’s some helpful context," 8 June 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

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contradiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 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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