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

The problem has been ongoing for more than two centuries, but perhaps no pair of figures in American history have dramatized the contradiction quite as blatantly as Ryan and Donald Trump. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 The restaurant, which opened in October 2011, was a pet project of Breuder’s and became a symbol of his rocky tenure — not to mention an arguable contradiction of the mission of a community college. Stacy St. Clair,, "College of DuPage sues former president for $25 million," 2 July 2018 Maybe the inherent contradiction of the phrase is caused by makeup getting too good. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "The Best New No-Makeup-Makeup Tinted Moisturizer," 30 May 2018 In her show at Rafius Fane Gallery, video artist Maggie Stark uses imagery of trains, trolleys, and stations to weigh the contradictions of time. Cate Mcquaid,, "Trains of thought in arresting video artworks," 16 May 2018 The contradictions of former FBI director James Comey keep piling up. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Contradicting Comey on Flynn—Again," 13 May 2018 The story of Franklin shows the contradiction that the Cold War posed for the United States: a desire to assert American values abroad, along with the need to compromise those values in a complicated political reality. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 That chronological stuttering can feel like a contradiction. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Never Prebook Your Return Flight From a Rocket Launch," 6 July 2018 With flashing eyes that tear up at the drop of a cat and a muscular frame made for monument-worthy poses, this Padraic is a strutting contradiction of attraction and repulsion, daring us to question our conventional notions of the heroic. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 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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Phrases Related to contradiction

contradiction in terms

without fear of contradiction

Statistics for contradiction

Last Updated

3 Oct 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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