con·​trar·​i·​an | \ kən-ˈtrer-ē-ən How to pronounce contrarian (audio) , kän- \

Definition of contrarian

: a person who takes a contrary position or attitude specifically : an investor who buys shares of stock when most others are selling and sells when others are buying

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Other Words from contrarian

contrarian adjective
contrarianism \ kən-​ˈtrer-​ē-​ə-​ˌniz-​əm How to pronounce contrarian (audio) , kän-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Anyone who thinks that most of what the public believes is wrong would be called a contrarian. And contrarian is a basic term in the vocabulary of investing. In fact, most successful investors often behave like contrarians by "buying low and selling high"—that is, buying stocks that are cheap because most investors put a low value on them but that have the possibility of rising, and selling stocks that most investors are valuing highly but that seem likely to decline. The word may be most common as an adjective; so you may express a contrarian opinion, hold a contrarian view, or pursue a contrarian investment strategy.

Examples of contrarian in a Sentence

As an investor, he's a contrarian, preferring to buy stocks when most people are selling.
Recent Examples on the Web Substack is a natural fit for the influencer, the pundit, the personality, and the political contrarian. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Is Substack the Media Future We Want?," 28 Dec. 2020 Sickness is often my number-one anxiety, but as a contrarian I am actually forced to feel differently than everyone else, no matter what. Seija Rankin,, "Cazzie David has written the year's most neurotic memoir. Here's her secret.," 13 Nov. 2020 That may be exactly what’s about to happen, according to Myron Ebell, a climate change contrarian at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who is close to the administration. Author: Jason Samenow, Andrew Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration removes head of federal climate program that oversees key reports," 10 Nov. 2020 Judith Curry, a climatologist who also has questioned climate models and is seen as a contrarian, says that Christy has done the kind of careful data analysis that is key to understanding past climate variability and change. al, "When Trump’s EPA needed a climate scientist, they called on Alabama’s John Christy," 2 Nov. 2020 Not surprisingly, Barkley is a bit of a contrarian in regards to the protest movement in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Scott Ostler,, "Charles Barkley on George Floyd protests: ‘There’s a fine line’," 24 June 2020 But contrarians also have arguments: The selloff in the broad equity market seems to have been amplified by low-volatility bets and algorithmic trading. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Airlines Have Become the Perfect Anti-Coronavirus Play," 2 Mar. 2020 Such contrarians wonder if an environment of ultra-loose monetary and fiscal easing, commodity shortages, frayed supply chains and braking globalization might be fertile ground for surging consumer prices. Anchalee Worrachate,, "Fears Mount About Inflation Returning With a Vengeance," 10 May 2020 What’s more, talking about climate change allays my anxiety—so successfully, in fact, that I’m not discouraged by hateful comments from riled up climate contrarians. Adam Levy, The New Republic, "I Left Academia and Became a Climate YouTuber," 24 Apr. 2020

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

1954, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrarian

see contrary entry 1

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Time Traveler for contrarian

Time Traveler

The first known use of contrarian was in 1954

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Statistics for contrarian

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contrarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for contrarian



English Language Learners Definition of contrarian

: a person who takes an opposite or different position or attitude from other people

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