contrary 1 of 2

as in mischievous
engaging in or marked by childish misbehavior a contrary child who wouldn't behave

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in rebellious
given to resisting authority or another's control the contrary soldier is facing a court-martial for insubordination

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms


2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near contrary

Cite this Entry

“Contrary.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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