controversial

adjective
con·​tro·​ver·​sial | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈvər-shəl, -ˈvər-sē-əl\

Definition of controversial

1 : of, relating to, or arousing controversy a controversial policy a controversial film
2 : given to controversy : disputatious a controversial temperament The controversial biologist caused a ferment among his colleagues.

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Other Words from controversial

controversialism \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈvər-​shə-​ˌli-​zəm , -​sē-​ə-​ˌli-​ \ noun
controversialist \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈvər-​shə-​list , -​sē-​ə-​list \ noun
controversially adverb

Examples of controversial in a Sentence

Abortion is a highly controversial subject. a decision that remains controversial He is a controversial author.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As for Morgan, this is just the latest in a long line of controversial views and Twitter arguments with a young woman at the center. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Sophie Turner Totally Shut Down Piers Morgan Over His Tweets About Mental Health," 9 Jan. 2019 Here are five of the president’s most controversial — or, simply absurd — tweets from over the holiday break. 1. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Tweeted Incessantly Over the Holiday Break," 2 Jan. 2019 The movement’s hulking raw-concrete structures then swept the globe—from the controversial Boston City Hall to Japan’s Saga Prefectural Gymnasium. Lauren Ho, Condé Nast Traveler, "Architectural Reboot: The Return of Brutalism," 20 Dec. 2018 Google has begun pushing out Chrome 70 late on Tuesday, reluctantly providing a solution to fix its controversial sign-in snafu while also introducing app-like Progressive Web Apps to Windows machines. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Chrome 70 fixes Google's controversial sneaky sign-in policy, kind of," 17 Oct. 2018 Unlike the mullets of the 1980s and 1990s à la Rod Stewart and Billy Ray Cyrus, Kai gave the controversial cut a 2018 twist by shaving the sides of his head. Devon Abelman, Allure, "K-Pop Star Kai of EXO Reveals New Mullet at Gucci's Spring/Summer 2019 Show," 25 Sep. 2018 While much of the focus has been on controversial pipeline projects, getting the oil to our ports is only half the problem. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Offshore Mega-Terminals Are Coming Because Oil Supertankers Are Too Big for Our Ports," 14 Sep. 2018 There's also been outrage over a controversial deal between the Coastal Commission and wealthy homeowners at Hollister Ranch Beach near Santa Barbara, which is only accessible by sea. CBS News, "Locals residents and state officials battle over access to public California beach," 13 July 2018 When teachers gathered in Raleigh on a cold January morning to protest a controversial class-size cap, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Clayton Wilcox joined them. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "CMS leader has won fans among teachers. But these moves may test their loyalty.," 13 July 2018

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

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for controversial

see controversy

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for controversial

The first known use of controversial was in 1583

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More Definitions for controversial

controversial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of controversial

: relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument : likely to produce controversy

controversial

adjective
con·​tro·​ver·​sial | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈvər-shəl \

Kids Definition of controversial

: relating to or causing disagreement or argument a controversial law

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Comments on controversial

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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