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[kon-truh-vur-see; British also kuh n-trov-er-see] /ˈkɒn trəˌvɜr si; British also kənˈtrɒv ər si/
noun, plural controversies.
a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
contention, strife, or argument.
Origin of controversy
1350-1400; Middle English controversie (< Anglo-French) < Latin contrōversia, equivalent to contrōvers(us) turned against, disputed (contrō-, variant of contrā against, + versus, past participle of vertere to turn) + -ia -y3
Related forms
precontroversy, noun, plural precontroversies.
1. disagreement, altercation. 2. quarrel, wrangle.
Synonym Study
2. See argument. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for controversy


/ˈkɒntrəˌvɜːsɪ; kənˈtrɒvəsɪ/
noun (pl) -sies
dispute, argument, or debate, esp one concerning a matter about which there is strong disagreement and esp one carried on in public or in the press
Derived Forms
controversial (ˌkɒntrəˈvɜːʃəl) adjective
controversialism, noun
controversialist, noun
controversially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin contrōversia, from contrōversus turned in an opposite direction, from contra- + vertere to turn
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 controversy

late 14c., from Old French controversie or directly from Latin controversia, from controversus "turned in an opposite direction, disputed, turned against," from contra- "against" (see contra) + versus (see verse).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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