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[kon-truh; Spanish kawn-trah] /ˈkɒn trə; Spanish ˈkɔn trɑ/
noun, plural contras
[kon-truh z; Spanish kawn-trahs] /ˈkɒn trəz; Spanish ˈkɔn trɑs/ (Show IPA)
(often initial capital letter) a member of a counterrevolutionary guerrilla group in Nicaragua.
Origin of contra2
< American Spanish, shortening of contrarrevolucionario counterrevolutionary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contras
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Si, seores, he had indeed, until Colonel Dupin and the contras arrived.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • Seeing Ney, he supposed the contras at no great distance, and a shot would bring them on his heels.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • He had deserted the contras to waylay the rich bullion convoy of which Rodrigo Galn had told him.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • The guerrillas, repulsed by the Americans, fled upon the contras, whereat the Americans swept them both back indiscriminately.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • At contras Henry of Navarre was reported as cut to pieces, yet his loss was less than 10 per cent.

    Chattanooga and Chickamauga Henry V. Boynton
Word Origin and History for contras



see Contra.


mid-14c., from Latin contra (prep. and adv.) "against," originally "in comparison with," ablative singular feminine of *com-teros, from Old Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + -tr, zero degree of the comparative suffix -ter-.



1981, "anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan," short for Spanish contrarrevolucionario "counter-revolutionary."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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