coun·​ter·​in·​tu·​i·​tive | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-in-ˈtü-ə-tiv, -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

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Other Words from counterintuitive

counterintuitively \ ˌkau̇n-​tər-​in-​ˈtü-​ə-​tiv-​lē , -​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

This may be counterintuitive, but the party Democratic leaders and activists see is not what our party has become two decades into the 21st century. James Bacchus, WSJ, "Democrats, Free Trade Is Your Destiny," 3 Dec. 2018 The stock-picking push is counterintuitive in the hedge-fund industry. Rachael Levy, WSJ, "D.E. Shaw Is a Quant King. Its Humans Are Losing Money," 8 Nov. 2018 The increasingly expensive configurations for the Model 3 are planned steps, if somewhat counterintuitive ones, toward Musk's vision of Tesla as a mass-production player with vehicles affordable to a broader swath of buyers. Bloomberg,, "Elon Musk announces $78,000 version of Tesla Model 3 — unaffordable for the masses," 21 May 2018 To go deeper into print in our digital age seems almost counterintuitive. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "10+ Magazine Is the New Boxed Publication From Fashion Stylist and Publisher Sophia Neophitou," 22 Nov. 2018 The same kind of counterintuitive finding pops up in the research on people who stand a lot for work. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Americans sit too much. Standing desks aren’t going to fix the problem.," 20 Nov. 2018 Solving the differential equations shows this dependency and leads to some counterintuitive solutions. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Going With the Flow of Traffic," 9 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, scientists are learning why bacteria engage in the seemingly counterintuitive behavior of eating substances meant to kill them. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Bacteria That Eat Drugs Could Help Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis," 8 Nov. 2018 Part of the problem is the counterintuitive way in which such problems are typically presented. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics," 14 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of counterintuitive

1955, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

27 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for counterintuitive

The first known use of counterintuitive was in 1955

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More Definitions for counterintuitive



English Language Learners Definition of counterintuitive

: 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

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