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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Very much to the contrary, Warren’s performance, which sometimes veers happily into an outright concert, is a two-and-a-half-hour-long hosanna. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "The Legend of Tina Turner," 11 Nov. 2019 That may be why so many climate sceptics manage to cling to their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Economist, "You really can fool some of the people, all of the time," 2 Nov. 2019 Live-entertainment giants AEG Presents and Live Nation both recently disavowed any plans to use facial recognition at music festivals, despite earlier indications to the contrary. Matt O’brien, Houston Chronicle, "Concert promoters turn away from facial recognition tech," 1 Nov. 2019 In Pakistan, poor passengers often bring their own small gas stoves on the trains to cook their meals, despite rules to the contrary, according to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. BostonGlobe.com, "Fire on moving train kills 71 passengers in central Pakistan - The Boston Globe," 31 Oct. 2019 Poor passengers often bring their own small gas stoves on the trains to cook their meals, despite rules to the contrary, according to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. Asim Tanveer, sun-sentinel.com, "Fire on moving train kills 65 passengers in central Pakistan," 31 Oct. 2019 In Pakistan, poor passengers often bring their own small gas stoves on the trains to cook their meals, despite rules to the contrary, according to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. Asim Tanveer, Anchorage Daily News, "Gas stove fire on moving train kills 71 passengers in central Pakistan," 31 Oct. 2019 But counting on Henson is dicey, especially with a stack of evidence to the contrary. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "John Henson continues to tease Cleveland Cavaliers with potential, dampen hopes with injuries," 18 Oct. 2019 To the contrary, many of the network's loyal viewers detested Smith for the very same reasons that others cheered for his solid reporting. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Why Shep Smith finally walked out of Fox News for good," 11 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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. BostonGlobe.com, "WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump directed his staff to order the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to prepare a statement that Hurricane Dorian posed a significant threat to Alabama as of Sept. 1, in contrast to what the agency’s forecasters were predicting at the time.," 12 Sep. 2019 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 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

20 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce contrary (audio) How to pronounce contrary (audio)

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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