controversy

noun

con·​tro·​ver·​sy ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē How to pronounce controversy (audio)
 British also  kən-ˈträ-və-sē
plural controversies
1
: a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute
The decision aroused a controversy among the students.
2

Examples of controversy in a Sentence

The decision aroused much controversy among the students. The new movie is a subject of controversy. There is controversy surrounding the team's decision to trade the star pitcher. The controversy is over whether he should be fired or not. A controversy arose over the new law.
Recent Examples on the Web The controversy over Barrymore’s return to the air has raised questions about how the show can continue operating without writers and why other daytime programs have been in production since the strike began. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2023 The incident is the latest indication that Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, of which Threads is a part, is seeking to avoid controversy on Threads. Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 But Charles has moved smoothly into his new role, avoiding controversy and concentrating on building bridges between the four parts of the U.K. and the myriad ethnic and religious groups that make up its population. Danica Kirka, Chicago Tribune, 8 Sep. 2023 These tools can replicate famous musicians and other celebrities' voices with surprising accuracy, which already caused a copyright controversy for Drake and The Weeknd after someone created a new song with their voices, The New York Times reports. Emily Dreibelbis, PCMAG, 8 Sep. 2023 Justice Clarence Thomas, in particular, has been at the center of controversy involving private jet travel and luxury vacations paid for by a Republican megadonor. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 The defining move of Berry’s tenure so far has been trading for Deshaun Watson in 2022 as controversy swirled around him. cleveland, 8 Sep. 2023 Elizabeth has been noted as a unifying force in the country and a pillar of strength amid controversy and the unprecedented global health pandemic caused by COVID-19. Misty Severi, Washington Examiner, 8 Sep. 2023 Thomas Jefferson, locally known as TJ, has been ensnared in controversy since the Fairfax County School Board voted in 2020 to alter its admission process, in part to boost diversity at the school. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'controversy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English controversie, from Anglo-French, from Latin controversia, from controversus disputable, literally, turned against, from contro- (akin to contra-) + versus, past participle of vertere to turn — more at worth

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of controversy was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near controversy

Cite this Entry

“Controversy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/controversy. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

controversy

noun
con·​tro·​ver·​sy ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē How to pronounce controversy (audio)
plural controversies
1
: a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute
2
Etymology

Middle English controversie, from early French (same meaning), from Latin controversia "act or cause of disagreeing, dispute," literally, "something turned against or to the contrary," from contro-, contra- "against, contrary" and versus "turned," from vertere "to turn" — related to anniversary, converse, divert, versatile

Legal Definition

controversy

noun
plural controversies
1
: a state of dispute or disagreement
suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollarsU.S. Constitution amend. VII
2
: a civil action involving a real and immediate dispute between parties with adverse interests

Note: Article III of the U.S. Constitution gives the judiciary the power to decide cases and controversies. Article III's limitation of the judicial power to cases or controversies requires that an action brought in the federal court involve parties with standing to sue and questions that are ripe and not moot.

More from Merriam-Webster on controversy

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