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

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 \ adverb
contradictoriness \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈdik-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contradictory

Synonyms: Adjective

antipodal, antipodean, antithetical, contrary, diametric (or diametrical), opposite, polar

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


contradictory predictions regarding stock prices that were of no help to investors at all

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Nintendo has been embracing these seemingly contradictory impulses ever since the explosion of the Switch. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Is Nintendo Planning a Case That Makes Phones Into Game Boys?," 5 Oct. 2018 Because of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, the public has been left to interpret contradictory glimpses of his income offered up by anonymous leaks. Susanne Craig, The Seattle Times, "Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from father," 2 Oct. 2018 That's not Kepler's fault; the two tasks are somewhat contradictory, as sensing the atmosphere requires high-resolution imaging, while finding the planets works best at low resolution. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Get ready for a flood of new exoplanets: TESS has already spotted two," 21 Sep. 2018 Here’s a suitably unsettling trailer: A contradictory title The strange saga of H1Z1 gets even stranger this week, as the original survival game—which used to be called H1Z1, then was renamed to Just Survive—got summarily killed off by Daybreak. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Battlefield V delayed, Streets of Rage gets another sequel nearly 25 years later," 31 Aug. 2018 Giuliani made the comment when asked about fellow Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow's contradictory remarks on whether the President weighed in on a statement put out about his son Donald Trump Jr.'s controversial 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "Giuliani says Trump shouldn't testify because 'our recollections keep changing'," 3 June 2018 Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that such a reaction exemplifies the collision between two contradictory traits that streak through the national identity. Author: Denise Grady, Jan Hoffman, Anchorage Daily News, "States turn to an unproven method of execution: nitrogen gas," 8 May 2018 Two previous tests of Reeves' theory, using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to search for hidden chambers or passages, produced contradictory results. National Geographic, "It’s Official: Tut’s Tomb Has No Hidden Chambers After All," 6 May 2018 Hayes’s talkative poems are, in fact, a form of thinking, fuelled by opposing impulses and contradictory ideas. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "The Politics and Play of Terrance Hayes," 24 June 2018

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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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for contradictory

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of contradictory

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

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Comments on contradictory

What made you want to look up contradictory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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