con·​tra·​dic·​to·​ry | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce contradictory (audio) \

Definition of contradictory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: involving, causing, or constituting a contradiction contradictory statements The witnesses gave contradictory accounts of the accident.


plural contradictories

Definition of contradictory (Entry 2 of 2)

: a proposition (see proposition entry 1 sense 2a) so related to another that if either of the two is true the other is false and if either is false the other must be true

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Other Words from contradictory


contradictorily \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈdik-​t(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce contradictorily (audio) \ adverb
contradictoriness \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈdik-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs How to pronounce contradictoriness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contradictory

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for contradictory


opposite, contradictory, contrary, antithetical mean being so far apart as to be or seem irreconcilable. opposite applies to things in sharp contrast or in conflict. opposite views on foreign aid contradictory applies to two things that completely negate each other so that if one is true or valid the other must be untrue or invalid. made contradictory predictions about whether the market would rise or fall contrary implies extreme divergence or diametrical opposition. contrary assessments of the war situation antithetical stresses clear and unequivocal diametrical opposition. a law that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy

Examples of contradictory in a Sentence

Adjective contradictory predictions regarding stock prices that were of no help to investors at all
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There could be contradictory policies, such as one country attempting to reduce intensive agriculture while another seeks to increase it. Michael E Odijie, Quartz Africa, "Africa needs to industrialize before focusing on free trade," 27 Nov. 2019 The seashore tussle will surely end someday, but that prospect now appears remote as waves of contradictory rulings over the prized surf break keep rolling in. Peter Fimrite,, "Court ruling on Martins Beach puts past public access rights in doubt," 26 Nov. 2019 Saying one thing one day and doing something contradictory the next scrambles observers’ perceptions. David Banks, The Conversation, "Syria military presence risks US credibility with world community," 26 Nov. 2019 The current payments crisis hasn’t been helped by seemingly contradictory policies. David Herbling And Eric Ombok | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Companies Struggle With Late Payments as Kenya Faces Cash Crisis," 25 Nov. 2019 Chinese officials have offered three contradictory responses. The Economist, "Few Chinese officials are blushing at a damning leak about Xinjiang," 21 Nov. 2019 Given these contradictory claims, a question of much public and scientific interest is whether there is room for coconut oil in a healthy diet. Vasanti Malik,, "Is there a place for coconut oil in a healthy diet?," 19 Nov. 2019 America has never witnessed such a contradictory mix of free-market and antigrowth policies in the White House. Fortune, "Trump Lost the C-Suite in 2018," 18 Nov. 2019 The frequently rambling and contradictory nature of the interview saw it become an instant talking point on social media. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Prince Andrew Under Fire After "Desperate, Toe-Curling" TV Interview About Jeffrey Epstein Links," 16 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For a school board that has criticized Foose for a lack of transparency, the secret talks over separation and lining up an interim appear contradictory. Howard County Times, "Renee Foose is out. Now what?," 3 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contradictory.' 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 contradictory


1656, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contradictory


see contradict


see contradict

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Time Traveler for contradictory

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for contradictory

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Contradictory.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for contradictory


How to pronounce contradictory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contradictory

: involving or having information that disagrees with other information : containing a contradiction


con·​tra·​dic·​to·​ry | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈdik-tə-rē How to pronounce contradictory (audio) \

Kids Definition of contradictory

: involving, causing, or being the opposite of or much different from something else contradictory reports

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contradictory or incongruous words

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