Synonyms & Antonyms of contrary

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 being as different as possible
  • the other jurors seemed sure the defendant was guilty, but I came to the contrary conclusion

Synonyms for contrary

Words Related to contrary

Near Antonyms for contrary

Antonyms for contrary



Synonyms & Antonyms of contrary (Entry 2 of 2)

something that is as different as possible from something else
  • the admonition that we should not return hate with hate, but rather with its contrary—love

Synonyms for contrary

Words Related to contrary

Near Antonyms for contrary

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Frequently Asked Questions About contrary

How does the adjective contrary differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of contrary are antithetical, contradictory, and opposite. While all these words mean "being so far apart as to be or seem irreconcilable," contrary implies extreme divergence or diametrical opposition.

contrary assessments of the war situation

When is it sensible to use antithetical instead of contrary?

While in some cases nearly identical to contrary, antithetical stresses clear and unequivocal diametrical opposition.

a law that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy

In what contexts can contradictory take the place of contrary?

While the synonyms contradictory and contrary are close in meaning, contradictory applies to two things that completely negate each other so that if one is true or valid the other must be untrue or invalid.

made contradictory predictions about whether the market would rise or fall

When can opposite be used instead of contrary?

In some situations, the words opposite and contrary are roughly equivalent. However, opposite applies to things in sharp contrast or in conflict.

opposite views on foreign aid

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Time Traveler for contrary

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near contrary



contrary to

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Cite this Entry

“Contrary.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on contrary

Nglish: Translation of contrary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contrary for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about contrary


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