1

contrary

noun con·trary \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē , -ˌtre-rē \

Definition of contrary

plural contraries
1 :a fact or condition incompatible with another :opposite usually used with the
2 :one of a pair of opposites
3 a :a proposition (see 1proposition 2a) so related to another that though both may be false they cannot both be true — compare subcontrary
b :either of two terms (such as good and evil) that cannot both be affirmed of the same subject
by contraries
obsolete :in a manner opposite to what is logical or expected
on the contrary
:just the opposite
  • The test will not be easy; on the contrary, it will be extremely difficult.
to the contrary
1 :on the contrary

Examples of contrary in a Sentence

  1. As kiss-and-tell books go, "Opening Arguments" by Jeffrey Toobin has few, if any, deep and sensuous secrets to reveal—this despite many news stories to the contrary. —Nina TotenbergNew York Times Book ReviewMarch 31, 1991
  2. He was not, despite the mythology he and his press agents so assiduously manufactured, a risk taker. On the contrary, he was more often timid to the point of fecklessness. —Christopher BuckleyNew York Times Book Review4 Nov. 1990
  3. Other men—a surprising number of them—do not feel anger or blame. On the contrary, they feel a strong blood tie to their fathers, and to them the discipline was a minor thing. —Robert BlyIron John1990
  4. "Is this the girl who has moved into Villa Villekulla?" asked one of the policemen. "Quite the contrary," said Pippi. "This is a tiny little auntie who lives on the third floor at the other end of the town." —Astrid LindgrenPippi Longstocking(1950) 1978
  5. the admonition that we should not return hate with hate, but rather with its contrary—love

Recent Examples of contrary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of contrary

Middle English contrarie, from Anglo-French contraire, contrairie, from Medieval Latin contrarius, from Latin, adjective, opposite, adverse, from contra opposite


2

contrary

adjective con·trary \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē , -ˌtre-rē , sense 4 often kən-ˈtrer-ē \

Definition of contrary

1 :being so different as to be at opposite extremes :opposite
  • come to the contrary conclusion
  • went off in contrary directions
; also :being opposite to or in conflict with each other
  • contrary viewpoints
2 :being not in conformity with what is usual or expected
  • actions contrary to company policy
  • contrary evidence
3 :unfavorable used of wind or weather
4 :temperamentally unwilling to accept control or advice

contrarily

play \ˈkän-ˌtrer-ə-lē, kən-ˈtrer-\ adverb

contrariness

play \ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē-nəs, kən-ˈtrer-\ noun

Examples of contrary in a Sentence

  1. Kicking Wolf was a very contrary man—he did as he pleased. —Larry McMurtryDead Man's Walk1995
  2. At sunrise 4 January she set sail, and the homeward passage began. Two days later, Columbus sighted Pinta sailing in a contrary direction … —Samuel Eliot MorisonThe European Discovery of America1974
  3. Mistress Mary got up from the log at once. She knew she felt contrary again, and obstinate, and she did not care at all. —Frances HodgsonThe Secret Garden1911
  4. The sisters gave contrary answers: one said “yes” and one said “no.”

  5. We had contrary opinions on the issue.

  6. Without contrary evidence, the jury will find her guilty.

  7. The boat sailed against a contrary wind.

  8. Contrary weather impeded the rescue efforts.

Recent Examples of contrary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of contrary

Synonym Discussion of contrary

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control. contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.
    • a contrary child
perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.
    • a perverse, intractable critic
restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.
    • tired soldiers growing restive
balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.
    • a balky witness
wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.
    • a school for wayward youths

synonyms see in addition opposite


3

contrary

adverb con·trary \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē , -ˌtre-rē also kən-ˈtrer-ē \

Definition of contrary

Recent Examples of contrary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of contrary



CONTRARY Defined for English Language Learners

contrary

adjective

Definition of contrary for English Language Learners

  • : exactly opposite to something else : entirely different from something else

  • : against or opposed to something

  • : not favorable or helpful


CONTRARY Defined for Kids

1

contrary

noun con·trary \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē \

Definition of contrary for Students

plural contraries
:something opposite
  • … we never see the true state of our condition till it is illustrated to us by its contraries
  • —Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
on the contrary
:just the opposite :no
  • You look tired. On the contrary, I'm wide awake.

2

contrary

adjective con·trary \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē , 4 is often kən-ˈtrer-ē \

Definition of contrary for Students

1 :exactly opposite
  • Their opinion is contrary to mine.
2 :being against what is usual or expected
  • Her actions are contrary to school policy.
3 :not favorable
  • contrary weather
4 :unwilling to accept control or advice
  • a contrary child


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