controversy

noun
con·​tro·​ver·​sy | \ ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē How to pronounce controversy (audio) , British also kən-ˈträ-və-sē\
plural controversies

Definition of controversy

1 : a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute The decision aroused a controversy among the students.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

He's been involved in a ton of other feuds and controversies. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Makeup Guru Jeffree Star," 9 Apr. 2019 Such a massive influx of funds, while widely considered an admirable show of support for the preservation of history and architecture, has caused some controversy. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Notre Dame's Rebuild Has Already Raised $1 Billion," 19 Apr. 2019 Now, paparazzi photos of Charles and Camilla walking with towels on the beach and of the Prince of Wales enjoying an ocean swim are causing controversy. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Paparazzi Photos of Prince Charles and Camilla on the Beach in Barbados Are Causing Controversy," 20 Mar. 2019 The Confederate monuments that have caused so much modern-day controversy, McRae adds, were often funded by white women’s organizations, prior to the 19th Amendment. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why Do White Women Keep Voting for the GOP and Against Their Own Interests?," 8 Nov. 2018 The actor and former pro wrestler is also known for his funny Instagram posts, but a recent photo the actor posted is causing some controversy. Temi Adebowale, Good Housekeeping, "People Are Furious Over a Photo of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson," 19 Oct. 2018 Speaking of controversies, Whetstone is replacing former Netflix comms head Jonathan Friedland, who was fired earlier this summer from the digital entertainment company. Kara Swisher, Recode, "Top Facebook communications exec Rachel Whetstone is departing for Netflix," 27 Aug. 2018 The opening ceremony included a performance by Robbie Williams, who caused some controversy. Vladimir Kozlov, The Hollywood Reporter, "World Cup: Will Smith to Perform at Closing Ceremony," 12 July 2018 In this and a number of controversies landing before his court, Kavanaugh seemed to have been performing for an audience of one: the Republican president who would one day appoint him to the highest judicial perch in the land. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "In Kavanaugh, Trump Found Another Judge Who Will Kiss the Ring," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'controversy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of controversy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for controversy

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about controversy

Statistics for controversy

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for controversy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for controversy

controversy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of controversy

: argument that involves many people who strongly disagree about something : strong disagreement about something among a large group of people

controversy

noun
con·​tro·​ver·​sy | \ ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē How to pronounce controversy (audio) \
plural controversies

Kids Definition of controversy

1 : argument that involves many people who strongly disagree about something dispute

controversy

noun
con·​tro·​ver·​sy | \ ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē Brit also kən-ˈträ-vər-sē How to pronounce controversy (audio) \
plural controversies

Legal Definition of controversy

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.

Other Words from controversy

controversial \ ˌkän-​trə-​ˈvər-​shəl, -​ˈvər-​sē-​əl How to pronounce controversial (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on controversy

What made you want to look up controversy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!