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

The Marine Corps' gender segregation has long been controversial. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "An All-Female Marine Platoon Will Finally Train Alongside Men at Boot Camp," 5 Jan. 2019 Unlike many other antislavery advocates, Lincoln avoided emphasizing controversial topics, like the suffering of slaves, the cruelty of slaveholders and the need for blacks to be awarded citizenship rights. David S. Reynolds, WSJ, "‘Becoming Lincoln’ Review: The Center That Held," 15 Feb. 2019 The border wall and border security remain a controversial topic in the ongoing government shutdown as Congress and President Trump struggle to agree on funding. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "Why Doesn't Criminal Justice Reform Doesn't Include Immigration Law?," 9 Jan. 2019 But there are plenty of other controversial topics that members of Congress may want to ask Pichai about. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face lawmakers at a hearing next week," 28 Nov. 2018 Allen, for his part, says the show won’t shy away from controversial topics like gun control, especially since Mike owns a sporting-goods store. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "How ‘Last Man Standing’ Went From Hit Sitcom, to Canceled, to Revived For Its Seventh Season," 18 July 2018 Due to the controversial topic and alleged pro-life stance, the film, which is shooting outside of New Orleans, cloaked production under a fake name. refinery29.com, "What We Know About Stacey Dash's Controversial Film About Roe v. Wade," 3 July 2018 She was literally created in the 1940s to be the antithesis of a male hero, an answer to masculinity—something that was not only revolutionary in its era but controversial. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Captain Marvel Is a New Kind of Female Hero," 11 Mar. 2019 That’s when the Patriots hired Mr. Belichick in a stunning and controversial move because Mr. Belichick had just been hired as coach of the New York Jets. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Charged With Soliciting Prostitution," 22 Feb. 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

24 Apr 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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