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[kon-truh-vur-shuh l] /ˌkɒn trəˈvɜr ʃəl/
of, relating to, or characteristic of controversy, or prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; polemical:
a controversial book.
subject to controversy; debatable:
a controversial decision.
given to controversy; argumentative; disputatious:
a controversial public figure.
Origin of controversial
1575-85; < Late Latin contrōversiālis, equivalent to Latin contrōversi(a) controversy + -ālis -al1
Related forms
controversialism, noun
controversialist, noun
controversially, adverb
noncontroversial, adjective
noncontroversially, adverb
precontroversial, adjective
uncontroversial, adjective
uncontroversially, adverb
2. arguable, questionable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for controversially
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • controversially speaking, neither of these two "Lives" are of any value.

    Bolougne-Sur-Mer Reverend William Canon Fleming
  • It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I sometimes took it too seriously.

    Eugenics and Other Evils G. K. Chesterton
  • Her air has resounded with party-cries, and the dead bodies of the controversially slain have lain thick in her streets.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • We have already found one distinguished fellow-countryman of Hume controversially attacking his works.

  • It would have been controversially futile if he had done so.

    Voltaire John Morley
Word Origin and History for controversially



1580s, from Late Latin controversialis "pertaining to controversy," from Latin controversia (see controversy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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