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See more synonyms for contra on Thesaurus.com
  1. against; in opposition or contrast to: Consider the problems of the teenager contra those of the adult.
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  1. contrariwise; on or to the contrary.
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Origin of contra1

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin contrā


[kon-truh; Spanish kawn-trah]
noun, plural con·tras [kon-truh z; Spanish kawn-trahs] /ˈkɒn trəz; Spanish ˈkɔn trɑs/.
  1. (often initial capital letter) a member of a counterrevolutionary guerrilla group in Nicaragua.
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Origin of contra2

< American Spanish, shortening of contrarrevolucionario counterrevolutionary


  1. a prefix meaning “against,” “opposite,” “opposing”: contradistinction, contraindicate.
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Origin of contra-1

< Late Latin, Latin, prefixal use of adverb and preposition contrā


  1. a prefix meaning “pitched lower than” the voice or instrument specified by the following element: contralto, contrabassoon.
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Origin of contra-2

< Italian < Latin; see contra-1, counterpoint
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for contra


  1. against; contrary; opposing; contrastingcontraceptive; contradistinction
  2. (in music) pitched belowcontrabass
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Word Origin

from Latin, from contrā against
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 contra

mid-14c., from Latin contra (prep. and adv.) "against," originally "in comparison with," ablative singular feminine of *com-teros, from Old Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + -tr, zero degree of the comparative suffix -ter-.

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1981, "anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan," short for Spanish contrarrevolucionario "counter-revolutionary."

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word-forming element meaning "against, in opposition," from Latin adverb and preposition contra (see contra). The Latin word was used as a prefix in Late Latin. In French, it became contre- and passed into English as counter-. The Old English equivalent was wiðer (surviving in withers and widdershins), from wið "with, against."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

contra in Medicine


  1. Against; opposite; contrasting:contraindication.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.