con·​tra·​vene | \ˌkän-trə-ˈvēn \
contravened; contravening

Definition of contravene 

transitive verb

1 : to go or act contrary to : violate contravene a law

2 : to oppose in argument : contradict contravene a proposition

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Other Words from contravene

contravener noun

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

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.

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

Moscow says the system is in full compliance with the agreement and has denied contravening the treaty. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Bolton Says Trump Would Welcome Meeting with Putin Next Month in Paris," 23 Oct. 2018 Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, state measures that contravene validly adopted federal laws and policy determinations, including those contained in FCC orders, are preempted and have no force or effect. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Entire broadband industry sues Vermont to stop state net neutrality law," 19 Oct. 2018 That doesn’t contravene the summit declaration, but raises questions about North Korea’s willingness to agree to the speedy nuclear-dismantlement measures Mr. Trump has demanded. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "Pompeo to Visit North Korea Again, With a View Toward Denuclearization," 2 July 2018 The ruling contravenes a decision from Mr. Favreto’s own court, which ordered Mr. da Silva arrested in April. New York Times, "Judge Orders Brazil to Release Ex-President Lula, Setting Off Legal Uproar," 8 July 2018 The ruling contravenes a decision from Favreto’s own court, which ordered da Silva arrested in April. Ernesto Londoño,, "Judge orders Brazil to release ex-president," 8 July 2018 Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information. Adam Satariano And Sheera Frenkel,, "Facebook is fined by British agency over Cambridge Analytica data leak," 11 July 2018 These measures, which might contravene current international trade agreements, extend from a long history of protectionism, including the Boston Tea Party. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 Florida’s law contravenes our nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Five times Anthony Kennedy was the fifth vote shows the significance of his retirement," 28 June 2018

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

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contravene

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

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Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for contravene

The first known use of contravene was in 1567

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English Language Learners Definition of contravene

: to fail to do what is required by (a law or rule)

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


living or existing for a long time

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