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

This wasn't the first time a religious license plate has been controversial. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Prayers answered: Woman can continue using 'PRAY' on license plate," 12 July 2018 But the proposal has still been controversial because critics could attack council members for placing a measure on the ballot that could end up increasing their salaries. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Long-stalled pay raises for San Diego mayor, council may be headed to ballot," 26 June 2018 German players Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan, who are of Turkish descent, caused a controversy by posing for a photo with Turkey’s highly controversial president, Tayyip Erdogan. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Shut up and dribble? Not in basketball. Certainly not in soccer," 25 June 2018 High-fence hunting is controversial even among hunters; many question the ethics of paying to shoot animals unable to escape confinement. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Wild pigs cause millions in damages in California. But hunting them could become easier," 25 June 2018 Miller came to the Diamondbacks in a highly controversial trade with the Atlanta Braves in December 2015, a deal that likely played a big part in ownership’s decision to part ways with that front office regime less than a year later. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller set to make return from elbow surgery," 21 June 2018 The Video Assistant Referee system quickly became a talking point in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the officials’ decision to not overturn an incredible solo goal by Diego Costa proved was highly controversial on social media. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Everything you need to know about VAR, the video system that will change the World Cup," 16 June 2018 No qualified officials were in the office to receive a complaint this morning on the first day of work for this highly controversial public project. Andrew Greif, OregonLive.com, "Oregon Ducks bow out of 3x3 World Cup against eventual champs," 12 June 2018 Greenwich Lane, which involved the conversion of the former Saint Vincent’s Hospital, was highly controversial. New York Times, "New Parks Sprout Around New York," 8 June 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

9 Oct 2018

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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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a state of commotion or excitement

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