controversial

adjective
con·​tro·​ver·​sial | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈvər-shəl How to pronounce controversial (audio) , -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 How to pronounce controversialism (audio) , -​sē-​ə-​ˌli-​ \ noun
controversialist \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈvər-​shə-​list How to pronounce controversialist (audio) , -​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

Advertising Before the lawsuit the policy had been controversial among some parents and students. Kayla Epstein, The Seattle Times, "Girls were made to wear skirts at school to ‘preserve chivalry.’ So they sued — and won.," 31 Mar. 2019 Randy LeffingwellGetty Images The 91st Oscars will take place this Sunday, February 24, and the path to get this show on the road has been...controversial. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The Oscars Last Had No Host In 1989 and It Was Pure Chaos," 24 Feb. 2019 And the border wall continues to be a highly controversial subject for Democrats. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The tumultuous relationship between Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Donald Trump, explained.," 11 Dec. 2018 Some people have been critical of the president going out and doing these rallies, talking about very controversial subjects, like immigration and trade, saying this is what is alienating these voters. Fox News, "Trump administration steps up sanctions on Iran, Russia," 12 Aug. 2018 Zines are weird, funny, serious, opinionated, personal – and can deal with controversial subjects. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The largest independent LGBTQ zine collection is stored in a Riverwest basement, and you can see some of it online," 9 July 2018 There is no shortage of brands displaying their values for less controversial subjects, getting involved with the immigration discussion doesn’t appear to have marketing department’s stamp of approval. Cam Wolf, GQ, "How Clothing Brands Are Fighting Back Against Trump’s Border Policies," 28 June 2018 The age at which a model should begin their career remains one of fashion’s most controversial subjects. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Kering Commits to Using Models Over 18: Will the Rest of the Fashion World Follow Suit?," 15 May 2019 Questioning Southwest’s exclusive Boeing fleet was the most surprising issue Weaks raised in his memo, but not the only controversial one. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "737 MAX crisis prompts Southwest pilots to question its all-Boeing fleet," 12 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for controversial

Last Updated

22 May 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 How to pronounce controversial (audio) \

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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