con·​tra·​vene ˌkän-trə-ˈvēn How to pronounce contravene (audio)
contravened; contravening

transitive verb

: to go or act contrary to : violate
contravene a law
: to oppose in argument : contradict
contravene a proposition
contravener noun

Did you know?

Contravene is most often used in reference to laws. So a government may take a company to court claiming that its policies are in contravention of national labor laws. The contravention of copyright laws is a big topic today especially where electronic information is involved. And a country might be punished if a trade organization finds that it's contravening international trade agreements.

Choose the Right Synonym for contravene

deny, gainsay, contradict, contravene mean to refuse to accept as true or valid.

deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede, or to acknowledge the existence or claims of.

denied the charges

gainsay implies disputing the truth of what another has said.

no one can gainsay her claims

contradict implies an open or flat denial.

her account contradicts his

contravene implies not so much an intentional opposition as some inherent incompatibility.

laws that contravene tradition

Examples of contravene in a Sentence

The overcrowded dance club contravened safety regulations. the unauthorized reproduction of the image contravenes copyright laws
Recent Examples on the Web In Hanoi, Biden showcased the new elevated US diplomatic status with Vietnam even as the country is reported to be nearing a weapons deal with Russia that would contravene US prohibitions on countries doing business with Russian military and intelligence agencies. Josh Boak and Aamer Madhani,, 11 Sep. 2023 Despite this, the assurance was ignored, and the band’s actions clearly contravened the agreement with Future Sound Asia. Charisma Madarang, Rolling Stone, 10 Aug. 2023 Mexico’s foreign minister, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, said last week that the buoys obstruct and divert the flow of the river, contravening two treaties between Mexico and the United States. Victoria Bisset, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2023 Chinese tech companies such as Baidu have become adept at filtering content that contravenes these rules. Meaghan Tobin, Washington Post, 6 July 2023 The problem was that the league had forbidden that practice and threatened to fine any player who contravened the order. Bruce Weber, New York Times, 15 June 2023 Any person who contravenes the Aviation Security Act, which includes passengers operating doors, exits, or equipment inside an aircraft, could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, the statement said. Yoonjung Seo, CNN, 26 May 2023 His failure to do so contravened the board’s code of practice. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 11 May 2023 After losing dozens of legal bids to contravene Biden’s victory, the president has been strategizing with some congressional Republicans over ways to overturn the electoral college results, which are to be certified in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contravene.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French contrevenir, from Late Latin contravenire, from Latin contra- + venire to come — more at come

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contravene was in 1567

Dictionary Entries Near contravene

Cite this Entry

“Contravene.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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