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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh n-ten-shuh s] /kənˈtɛn ʃəs/
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
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English contenciose < Latin contentiōsus, equivalent to contenti(ō) contention + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
contentiously, adverb
contentiousness, noun
noncontentious, adjective
noncontentiously, adverb
overcontentious, adjective
overcontentiously, adverb
overcontentiousness, noun
uncontentious, adjective
uncontentiously, adverb
uncontentiousness, noun
1. disputatious, argumentative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contentious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Anyway it was plain that she could not get very far by arguing with him—he was getting stubborn, argumentative, contentious.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • There is nothing to indicate that he was contentious by nature.

    Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark Jens Christian Aaberg
  • The following is a list of the names and dates (these latter being sometimes doubtful and contentious) of his plays.

  • Of the contentious scribes He asked: "What question ye with them?"

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • We require to make the terms of admission strict, to guard against spies, and those who are contentious or quarrelsome.

    The Life of James Renwick Thomas Houston
British Dictionary definitions for contentious


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
Derived Forms
contentiously, adverb
contentiousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contentious

c.1500, from Middle French contentieux, from Latin contentiosus "obstinate, quarrelsome," from contentionem (see contend). Related: Contentiously; contentiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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