con·​trar·​i·​an | \ kən-ˈtrer-ē-ən How to pronounce contrarian (audio) , kän- \

Definition of contrarian

: a person who takes a contrary position or attitude specifically : an investor who buys shares of stock when most others are selling and sells when others are buying

Other Words from contrarian

contrarian adjective
contrarianism \ kən-​ˈtrer-​ē-​ə-​ˌniz-​əm How to pronounce contrarian (audio) , kän-​ \ noun

Did you know?

Anyone who thinks that most of what the public believes is wrong would be called a contrarian. And contrarian is a basic term in the vocabulary of investing. In fact, most successful investors often behave like contrarians by "buying low and selling high"—that is, buying stocks that are cheap because most investors put a low value on them but that have the possibility of rising, and selling stocks that most investors are valuing highly but that seem likely to decline. The word may be most common as an adjective; so you may express a contrarian opinion, hold a contrarian view, or pursue a contrarian investment strategy.

Examples of contrarian in a Sentence

As an investor, he's a contrarian, preferring to buy stocks when most people are selling.
Recent Examples on the Web Geoffrey Wheatcroft, a British commentator and author with a reputation as an admirably pugnacious contrarian, recalls seeing Churchill in the House of Commons as a schoolboy in 1963. Richard Aldous, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 Because Thurston Moore, the guitarist, singer and overseer of the trio, has spent decades as a contrarian of rock ’n’ roll expectations. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Sep. 2021 Weingarten wrote his column, as humorists often do, in a self-deprecating tone, casting himself as a troglodytic contrarian. David Harsanyi, National Review, 24 Aug. 2021 Leggett is a contrarian by constitution and experience. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 The contrarian at the office may need an invitation to be more agreeable, and winking commentary about her intractable opinions and self-seriousness could do the trick. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 10 May 2021 Her path to North State contrarian may have been forged early in her life. Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2021 Substack is a natural fit for the influencer, the pundit, the personality, and the political contrarian. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 28 Dec. 2020 Sickness is often my number-one anxiety, but as a contrarian I am actually forced to feel differently than everyone else, no matter what. Seija Rankin,, 13 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrarian.' 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 contrarian

1954, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrarian

see contrary entry 1

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The first known use of contrarian was in 1954

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Cite this Entry

“Contrarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of contrarian

: a person who takes an opposite or different position or attitude from other people


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