Trending: contentious

Lookups spiked 3,700% on January 4, 2019

Why are people looking up contentious?

Contentious rose to the top of our lookups on January 4th, 2019, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi used this word (and lengthy) in describing a recent meeting with President Trump.

What does contentious mean?

Contentious is defined as "likely to cause disagreement or argument" or "exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes." Lengthy, for those of you who were too lazy to look it up, means "protracted excessively," and "long."

Where does contentious come from?

Contentious has been in use in English since the 15th century. It comes from the Latin contentus, which is the past participle of contendere, "to contend."


Contentious pairs well with lengthy, as does a fine Chablis with Comté. We often see these words in each other's company, and they have been thusly matched for well over a hundred years.

Mr. Ecroyd ... did not think that the 7th if August was the proper tie at which to enter upon so lengthy and contentious a subject, and for this reason he should oppose the bill.
The Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, N. Ir), 8 Aug. 1883

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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