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

But if vintage cars are the perfect Trousdale touch, the home’s furnishings are counterintuitive. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Tour an Iconic Beverly Hills Home that Mixes Antique Accents with a Contemporary Cool," 24 Oct. 2018 This may seem counterintuitive for people who are innumerate. Sandy Bauers,, "Fear of math is harmful to your health. This woman wants to help.," 29 June 2018 The finding that extra carbon dioxide can make crops less nutritious may sound counterintuitive. New York Times, "How More Carbon Dioxide Can Make Food Less Nutritious," 23 May 2018 While the idea of battling to be the most easy-going player sounds a little counterintuitive to us, people who have reviewed the game, love it. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "There Is Now a Bob Ross Board Game That You Absolutely Need," 2 Oct. 2017 But as cord-cutting becomes more popular, a counterintuitive trend is emerging: higher streaming TV prices and bundling, this time among Internet streaming services. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Cord cutter dé​​​​​​​jà vu: Streaming channels are looking more like those hated cable TV bundles," 12 July 2018 Thinking across disciplines and making counterintuitive leaps keep the mind alive. Bob Morris, Town & Country, "How College Courses on Happiness and Humiliation Because the Hottest Trend on Campus," 10 July 2018 Though completely counterintuitive, theory and evidence show that taxes on imports act just like a tax on exports. Greg Ip, WSJ, "U.S. Exporters Will Be a Surprise Loser From Tariff Fight," 9 July 2018 This is somewhat understandable because the idea that intelligent life is extremely rare in the universe feels completely counterintuitive. Liv Boeree, Vox, "Why haven’t we found aliens yet?," 3 July 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

15 Nov 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

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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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