Synonym Chooser

How does the noun contention contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of contention are conflict, discord, dissension, strife, and variance. While all these words mean "a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony," contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy.

several points of contention about the new zoning law

When would conflict be a good substitute for contention?

The synonyms conflict and contention are sometimes interchangeable, but conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires.

the conflict of freedom and responsibility

Where would discord be a reasonable alternative to contention?

In some situations, the words discord and contention are roughly equivalent. However, discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism.

a political party long racked by discord

When can dissension be used instead of contention?

While in some cases nearly identical to contention, dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions.

religious dissension threatened to split the colony

When is it sensible to use strife instead of contention?

The words strife and contention can be used in similar contexts, but strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved.

during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife

When might variance be a better fit than contention?

The meanings of variance and contention largely overlap; however, variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest.

cultural variances that work against a national identity

Thesaurus Entries Near contention

Cite this Entry

“Contention.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on contention

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!