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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for contras
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  • 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
  • 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
  • Si, seores, he had indeed, until Colonel Dupin and the contras arrived.

    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
  • 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
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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