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 contradictory (audio) \ adverb
contradictoriness \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈdik-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs How to pronounce contradictory (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 Over the past year, we’ve been inundated with contradictory (and often incorrect) information about Covid-19 and subjected to dire predictions that failed to come true. WSJ, "How Important Is Herd Immunity to Covid?," 2 Apr. 2021 The Trump Administration has defended the FDA’s rule with contradictory, and even laughable, arguments. Rachel Rebouché, Time, "The Supreme Court Doesn't Hold All the Power When It Comes to Abortion Rights. Here Are 2 Things the Biden Administration Can Do to Extend Access," 22 Dec. 2020 And its outdated computers keep mailing out redundant, contradictory and erroneous letters. oregonlive, "Oregon’s computers keep sending erroneous letters to jobless workers; the state says there’s no stopping them," 6 Dec. 2020 To tell the story of the women’s movement most accurately would be to plunge viewers into a sprawling, complicated, contradictory and ongoing story that defies the structural limits of the screen. Washington Post, "Trump has turned disaster flicks into real life. And this one just took a dire turn.," 2 Oct. 2020 Political leaders frequently doled out contradictory and confusing guidance. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "There is a path out of America’s COVID-19 mess—if we choose to take it," 27 Aug. 2020 The two events might seem contradictory, but they were, in fact, closely related. Jeremy Lott, Washington Examiner, "Airline stocks surge on new bookings, but they're still on shaky ground," 18 Mar. 2021 Mr Sunstein summarises decades of psychological research showing that people embrace congenial lies rather than difficult truths, and cling to them more firmly when confronted with contradictory evidence. The Economist, "Not gonna lie A timely diagnosis of the problem of rampant dishonesty," 18 Mar. 2021 Working closely with the landowner, Kleineman set about designing a modern 6,279-square-foot house with features that would seem contradictory. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "'Magical' $2.575 million Deephaven house offers privacy, nature views," 19 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For six months, experts have given the American public contradictory and weaponized election-year directives on masks, social distancing, lockdowns, school closures, and workplace policies. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Civilization Requires Collective Common Sense," 24 Sep. 2020 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

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contradictory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for contradictory



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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