Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for controversy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These stables had been a subject of controversy for some time.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • The copies of Hearts of controversy were lying where he had left them on the previous night.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • A month after his return to London, Hearts of controversy was published.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • The origin of these turf monuments is still a matter of controversy.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • The field of controversy will never be won by their molecular "Hessians."

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for controversy

Word Value for controversy

Scrabble Words With Friends