coun·​ter·​in·​tu·​i·​tive | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-in-ˈtü-ə-tiv How to pronounce counterintuitive (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of counterintuitive

: contrary to what one would intuitively expect As counterintuitive as it may seem, the universe has no center, and it has no boundary.— Jim Bell

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from counterintuitive

counterintuitively \ ˌkau̇n-​tər-​in-​ˈtü-​ə-​tiv-​lē How to pronounce counterintuitively (audio) , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adverb

Examples of counterintuitive in a Sentence

It may seem counterintuitive, but we do burn calories when we are sleeping.
Recent Examples on the Web The Federal Reserve circulated an interesting study in May with counterintuitive results. Michael Taylor,, "Taylor: On this scary stock market ride, our only control is over ourselves," 19 June 2020 There the decision to opt for stainless steel—instead of advanced composites—was wildly counterintuitive. Levi Tillemann, Wired, "Tesla’s Cybertruck Could Be Ripped, Mean, and Super Green," 4 June 2020 That seems counterintuitive, but also better than the current predicament – which is no baseball at all. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB rejects union's 114-game proposal, leaving baseball in limbo as other sports gear up for return," 3 June 2020 That might seem counterintuitive, but many schools receive millions of dollars in student fees that cover things like football tickets. John Talty |, al, "Which fans can attend a CFB game this fall? Can social distancing work?," 21 May 2020 There is also budding evidence about how exercise and sleep affect virility in men, Dr. Schlegel said — and some of the results seem counterintuitive. Julia Calderone, New York Times, "10 Years of Fertility Advances," 19 Apr. 2020 Lawmakers grilled Cox during Monday’s budget hearing, saying his proposal is confusing and counterintuitive because the public needs the funds. USA TODAY, "First Spouse Dolls, Snowstang, sand sculpture: News from around our 50 states," 7 Dec. 2019 Which leads us to one of the most counterintuitive -- and potentially lucrative -- features of reverse mortgages. Sandra Block,, "How reverse mortgages can help retirees weather market storms," 3 Oct. 2019 People should be able to make counterintuitive and unsettling arguments about the world without getting dragged forever. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Joe Biden’s Dr. Death," 28 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterintuitive.' 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 counterintuitive

1955, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about counterintuitive

Time Traveler for counterintuitive

Time Traveler

The first known use of counterintuitive was in 1955

See more words from the same year

Statistics for counterintuitive

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Counterintuitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for counterintuitive


How to pronounce counterintuitive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of counterintuitive

formal : different from what you would expect : not agreeing with what seems right or natural

More from Merriam-Webster on counterintuitive

Nglish: Translation of counterintuitive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on counterintuitive

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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