tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome: a contentious crew.
causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy: contentious issues.
Law. pertaining to causes between contending or opposing parties.

Nearby words

  1. content word,
  2. content-addressable storage,
  3. contented,
  4. contentedly,
  5. contention,
  6. contentiously,
  7. contentive,
  8. contently,
  9. contentment,
  10. contents

Origin of contentious

1400–50; late Middle English contenciose < Latin contentiōsus, equivalent to contenti(ō) contention + -ōsus -ous

SYNONYMS FOR contentious
Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contentiously

  • "Na, th' ben't one alive," said an old miner, contentiously.

    Gordon Keith|Thomas Nelson Page
  • "I can't go and say to him, 'Don't you fall in love with me,'" said Dawn contentiously.

British Dictionary definitions for contentiously



tending to argue or quarrel
causing or characterized by dispute; controversial
law relating to a cause or legal business that is contested, esp a probate matter
Derived Formscontentiously, adverbcontentiousness, noun

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

Word Origin and History for contentiously



c.1500, from Middle French contentieux, from Latin contentiosus "obstinate, quarrelsome," from contentionem (see contend). Related: Contentiously; contentiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper