contrary

noun
con·​trary | \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē How to pronounce contrary (audio) , -ˌtre-rē\
plural contraries

Definition of contrary

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a fact or condition incompatible with another : opposite usually used with the
2 : one of a pair of opposites
3a : a proposition (see proposition entry 1 sense 2a) so related to another that though both may be false they cannot both be true — compare subcontrary
b : either of two terms (such as good and evil) that cannot both be affirmed of the same subject
by contraries
obsolete : in a manner opposite to what is logical or expected
on the contrary
: just the opposite The test will not be easy; on the contrary, it will be extremely difficult.
to the contrary
1 : on the contrary

contrary

adjective
con·​trary | \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē How to pronounce contrary (audio) , -ˌtre-rē, sense 4 often kən-ˈtrer-ē How to pronounce contrary (audio) \

Definition of contrary (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : being so different as to be at opposite extremes : opposite come to the contrary conclusion went off in contrary directions also : being opposite to or in conflict with each other contrary viewpoints
2 : being not in conformity with what is usual or expected actions contrary to company policy contrary evidence
3 : unfavorable used of wind or weather
4 : temperamentally unwilling to accept control or advice

contrary

adverb
con·​trary | \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē How to pronounce contrary (audio) , -ˌtre-rē also kən-ˈtrer-ē\

Definition of contrary (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from contrary

Adjective

contrarily \ ˈkän-​ˌtrer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce contrarily (audio) , kən-​ˈtrer-​ \ adverb
contrariness \ ˈkän-​ˌtrer-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce contrariness (audio) , kən-​ˈtrer-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contrary

Synonyms: Noun

antipode, antithesis, counter, negative, obverse, opposite, reverse

Synonyms: Adjective

antipodal, antipodean, antithetical, contradictory, diametric (or diametrical), opposite, polar

Antonyms: Adjective

noncontradictory

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Choose the Right Synonym for contrary

Adjective

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control. contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice. a contrary child perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal. a perverse, intractable critic restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders. tired soldiers growing restive balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action. a balky witness wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior. a school for wayward youths

synonyms see in addition opposite

Examples of contrary in a Sentence

Noun

As kiss-and-tell books go, "Opening Arguments" by Jeffrey Toobin has few, if any, deep and sensuous secrets to reveal—this despite many news stories to the contrary. — Nina Totenberg, New York Times Book Review, March 31, 1991 He was not, despite the mythology he and his press agents so assiduously manufactured, a risk taker. On the contrary, he was more often timid to the point of fecklessness. — Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review, 4 Nov. 1990 Other men—a surprising number of them—do not feel anger or blame. On the contrary, they feel a strong blood tie to their fathers, and to them the discipline was a minor thing. — Robert Bly, Iron John, 1990 "Is this the girl who has moved into Villa Villekulla?" asked one of the policemen. "Quite the contrary," said Pippi. "This is a tiny little auntie who lives on the third floor at the other end of the town." — Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking, (1950) 1978 the admonition that we should not return hate with hate, but rather with its contrary—love

Adjective

Kicking Wolf was a very contrary man—he did as he pleased. — Larry McMurtry, Dead Man's Walk, 1995 At sunrise 4 January she set sail, and the homeward passage began. Two days later, Columbus sighted Pinta sailing in a contrary direction … — Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1974 Mistress Mary got up from the log at once. She knew she felt contrary again, and obstinate, and she did not care at all. — Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden, 1911 The sisters gave contrary answers: one said “yes” and one said “no.” We had contrary opinions on the issue. Without contrary evidence, the jury will find her guilty. The boat sailed against a contrary wind. Contrary weather impeded the rescue efforts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Advertising To the contrary, because health-care costs in Washington and elsewhere are still rising, the federal government will once again lift the cap for total out-of-pocket costs for consumers covered under the ACA, Marquis said. Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times, "Health-insurance premiums on state exchange will fall next year, but out-of-pocket costs are still rising," 14 Sep. 2019 This was the next stop on a small press tour with the start of another NFL season underway, and Nigel was getting word out that his seven-year-old startup was, despite breathless headlines to the contrary very much alive. Albert Chen, SI.com, "Billion Dollar Fantasy: Inside the War Between FanDuel and DraftKings that Rocked the Gambling Industry," 10 Sep. 2019 Despite some media reports to the contrary, scientists say the loss of the Amazon rainforest wouldn’t dangerously limit sources of breathable oxygen. NBC News, "Why is the Amazon rainforest important?," 9 Sep. 2019 Despite perceptions to the contrary, year-to-date crime stats in Birmingham show a drop thus far in 2019 in homicides and robberies, assaults and violent crime in general. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Beat by beat, street by street, Birmingham police use algorithms to fight crime in age of analytics," 6 Sep. 2019 But despite much carping to the contrary, polls have a remarkably good record of accuracy in American elections — even in 2016. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "What polls really tell us about the state of the presidential race," 30 Aug. 2019 To the contrary, 50 years later, his buildings exude the same joy, eloquence and integrity as at the time of their birth. oregonlive.com, "Celebrating architect Pietro Belluschi’s 120th anniversary: You’re invited to walking tours, talks this weekend," 16 Aug. 2019 Now, there has been years of evidence to the contrary, including violence, and a change in public perception. Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "Will taking down 8chan stop the worst people on the Internet?," 5 Aug. 2019 To the contrary, these were clearly accounts of government business compiled by a government official using government property on government time. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The DOJ Will Not Prosecute James Comey over Trump Memos," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Burns discovered many enduring, sometimes contrary truisms among the country music community, which displays a more prominent sense of family than other musical genres. Scott Huver, CNN, "Ken Burns on the love and loss of 'Country Music'," 13 Sep. 2019 Barring a contrary ruling from the full Second Circuit or emergency intervention by the Supreme Court, the case will soon move forward—and Mr Trump’s finances and potential conflicts of interest could be thrust into the public spotlight. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "An appeals court revives an emoluments-clause lawsuit against Donald Trump," 16 Sep. 2019 In addition to the House Science Committee's investigation, other groups are initiating probes into NOAA's decision back Trump's claim that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian, despite contrary forecasts from its own scientists. oregonlive, "President Trump ordered NOAA statement supporting his inaccurate claim that Alabama was at risk from Dorian," 11 Sep. 2019 That view by Republicans stems partly from their perception that professors too often bring their own political views into the classroom, and don’t acquaint their students with contrary views. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Pitts should visit college classes to see one-sided view," 27 Aug. 2019 The two cases could not be more contrary, and yet, since Jackson’s arrival, the two defensive ends have become inextricably linked. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC’s Christian Rector and Drake Jackson hope their story has a strong ending," 14 Aug. 2019 When faced with competing demands from co-equal branches of government, Don will follow his former client’s instruction, absent a contrary decision from the federal judiciary. Alana Abramson, Time, "House Democrats Take Don McGahn to Court Over Ignoring Their Subpoena to Testify," 7 Aug. 2019 However, contrary claims have since both dismissed Arsenal's interest and suggested up to four Premier League clubs are interested in the Brazilian before Thursday's transfer deadline. SI.com, "Philippe Coutinho Tipped for Shock Loan Move With Four Premier League Clubs Linked," 6 Aug. 2019 One senior administration official offered a contrary view to that of his colleagues, saying that the talks so far had been positive and constructive. Anchorage Daily News, "With the global economy slowing and the U.S.-China trade war escalating, Trump arrives at G-7 with a list of grievances," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The suspect was not wearing an explosives-laden belt, Van der Sypt said, contrary to an initial eyewitness account from a railway official. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Suspect in foiled Brussels attack was 36-year-old Moroccan, authorities say," 21 June 2017

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrary

Noun, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle English contrarie, from Anglo-French contraire, contrairie, from Medieval Latin contrarius, from Latin, adjective, opposite, adverse, from contra opposite

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Statistics for contrary

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrary

The first known use of contrary was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for contrary

contrary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of contrary

: exactly opposite to something else : entirely different from something else
: against or opposed to something
: not favorable or helpful

contrary

noun
con·​trary | \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē How to pronounce contrary (audio) \
plural contraries

Kids Definition of contrary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something opposite … we never see the true state of our condition till it is illustrated to us by its contraries— Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
on the contrary
: just the opposite : no You look tired. On the contrary, I'm wide awake.

contrary

adjective
con·​trary | \ ˈkän-ˌtrer-ē, 4 is often kən-ˈtrer-ē\

Kids Definition of contrary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exactly opposite Their opinion is contrary to mine.
2 : being against what is usual or expected Her actions are contrary to school policy.
3 : not favorable contrary weather
4 : unwilling to accept control or advice a contrary child

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