View synonyms for contentious


[ kuhn-ten-shuhs ]


  1. tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome:

    a contentious crew.

    Synonyms: argumentative, disputatious

  2. causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy:

    contentious issues.

  3. Law. pertaining to causes between contending or opposing parties.


/ kənˈtɛnʃəs /


  1. tending to argue or quarrel
  2. causing or characterized by dispute; controversial
  3. law relating to a cause or legal business that is contested, esp a probate matter

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Derived Forms

  • conˈtentiously, adverb
  • conˈtentiousness, noun

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Other Words From

  • con·tentious·ly adverb
  • con·tentious·ness noun
  • noncon·tentious adjective
  • noncon·tentious·ly adverb
  • over·con·tentious adjective
  • over·con·tentious·ly adverb
  • over·con·tentious·ness noun
  • uncon·tentious adjective
  • uncon·tentious·ly adverb
  • uncon·tentious·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of contentious1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English contenciose, from Latin contentiōsus, from contenti(ō) contention + -ōsus -ous

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Example Sentences

Calls to keep cats indoors are often contentious among cat owners, and cats can sometimes reject colorful collars or loud bells designed to make them more noticeable.

After the contentious meeting ended, they spoke privately, and Nesbitt agreed to look into the issue.

Judge Christina Klinger’s ruling sets up what is likely to be an increasingly contentious legal battle over the state’s Amendment A, which allows residents to grow, license and sell cannabis.

That type of union typically seeks federal certification to prove that it represents the majority of employees — a long and often contentious process conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

There are studies that find that keto diets increase energy expenditure, and the issue is very contentious.

A new study released today in Obstetrics & Gynecology could close this contentious question for good.

It was the first case brought under the Voting Rights Act, so the hearing proved contentious.

Arkansas has long had a contentious relationship with alcohol.

It became a model, rarely emulated, of how digital tools can be used to find common ground in a contentious society.

Those that are hesitant about Powell may point to her contentious “resignation” as the first female ambassador to India in March.

Opposed to the Brachmanes there are philosophers, called Pramnæ, contentious people, and fond of argument.

"A man shouldn't speak more than twice in his first session, and not at first on too contentious a topic," said Sir Edward.

Possessing a high tempered and somewhat contentious nature, Giberne was involved in numerous sharp controversies.

With unbounded wealth and means of enjoyment, they grew ennuyéed, discontented, and finally contentious.

What but jealousy could give a man that sore contentious wish for the detail of what would make him suffer?


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