- tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome: a contentious crew.
- causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy: contentious issues.
- Law. pertaining to causes between contending or opposing parties.
Origin of contentious
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for contentious
A new study released today in Obstetrics & Gynecology could close this contentious question for good.Abortion Complications Are Rare, No Matter What the Right Says
December 8, 2014
Arkansas has long had a contentious relationship with alcohol.Will Arkansas’ Prohibition Finally End?
November 1, 2014
It became a model, rarely emulated, of how digital tools can be used to find common ground in a contentious society.You Can Look It Up: The Wikipedia Story
October 19, 2014
Those that are hesitant about Powell may point to her contentious “resignation” as the first female ambassador to India in March.Meet America’s New Top Ebola Fighter
September 26, 2014
The priests conclude that there is common ground on even the most contentious topics that pit science versus spirituality.Pope Francis Asked ‘Would You Baptize an Alien?’ Here’s the Answer.
Barbie Latza Nadeau
September 26, 2014
Suppose we call it the contentious or ambitious—would the term be suitable?The Republic
There is nothing to indicate that he was contentious by nature.Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark
Jens Christian Aaberg
Of the contentious scribes He asked: "What question ye with them?"Jesus the Christ
James Edward Talmage
Let them beware of the first approach of a contentious spirit.The Young Maiden
A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
Then, he was trying not to be too contentious, but was irritated into retorting.The Trail of the Hawk
- tending to argue or quarrel
- causing or characterized by dispute; controversial
- law relating to a cause or legal business that is contested, esp a probate matter
Word Origin and History for contentious
c.1500, from Middle French contentieux, from Latin contentiosus "obstinate, quarrelsome," from contentionem (see contend). Related: Contentiously; contentiousness.